There is a glimmer in the distance. A hazy light that draws nearer each new day that dawns until, oh! you are bathed in the beautiful glow of The Golden Years. Be careful though. They don't last forever. You need to make the most of this.
Sometime over the past year I've come to the realisation that I have hit that perfect moment in child-rearing, when all three children are of the age when they are independent enough to be able to not need me 24/7, but are yet to think that I am the most embarrassing creature ever to have blighted their earth.
They play together, get their own breakfasts, pop to the shops for forgotten milk and even react appropriately to parental bribery.
But not just that. They are actually sometimes fun to be around.
I know! We are finally at a stage where we can jump in the sea together and have water flights without one of them crying about getting wet. We can go cycling together without one of them falling off into the on-coming traffic. We can go for dinner together and have *gasp* a proper conversation that does not make you want to stick a fork in your eye. We can cheer each other on at actually entertaining football matches, and spend time at home watching genuinely good movies.
And it can be great.
However, now that I have had this epiphany I also realise that the clock is ticking. It is but a brief slice of time that these golden years are bestowed upon us. Already the tweenage hormones are surfacing and the door banging is beginning.
I'm doing my best to ignore it. But it's coming. As I lie on the golden beach of parenting the tsunami of horror is building. In two years my first born will turn teenager, closely followed by her two brothers, and it will be back to those dark and stormy days of old.
What the next phase will bring is anyone's guess, but for now - the shades are on and the warmth is welcome.