Is it just me or did everyone get exponentially older last week?
On Tuesday night John and I went to bed as normal, our youngest daughter Jemima was out to dinner with her boyfriend Ben.
Around 10.30 we heard their car and moments later they were in our bedroom, Jemima jumping for joy and holding out her ring finger, Ben smiling broadly behind her.
Jemima is only 23 but she has known for a long time she wants to marry Ben.
I took my time getting to know him, mainly because I could feel Jemima falling fast and wanted to be the voice of reason if she needed me.
Two years into their relationship, I am convinced. Jemima and Ben are devoted to each other, they treat each other kindly, talk and laugh a lot and prefer each other’s company over anyone else in the world. Marriage doesn’t come with a guarantee, but I like the cut of their jib.
It’s our family’s first engagement and it was exciting. Friends arrived with cards and champagne and we all laughed about who proposed to who back in the day, where it happened and how it doesn’t seem that long ago.
A day later I was in a flood of tears.
I can’t really explain it because I am not remotely sad about the union. It’s just a new phase.
I am sure it was just yesterday that I called John at work to say he had better bring a pregnancy test home.
That baby was almost silent for 18 months, quietly watching her siblings and disappearing to play by herself.
As a toddler, she clung to me, my little koala. She wanted to be carried even after she went to school and because she was my baby, I didn’t mind a bit.
By the end of primary school, she had found her voice and her high school social life guaranteed a weekly argument, slammed doors and death stares.
After school she joined her siblings on Ocean Street, and I am still waiting for the call from council about the plaque they are going to erect in honour of their dedication to that precinct.
All the while Jemima studied hard and graduated as a Paramedic when she was just 20 years old.
And now she’s getting married.
The beauty of motherhood is that you get to hold your kids so tight. The challenge is letting them go.
That includes being happy she is getting married in the UK. I cried again when she told me, but Jemima is right, her wedding isn’t about our family, it’s about the new family she is building with Ben. Just like John and I built ours.
There are probably more tears to come but they are not because I’m sad, just learning to let go.