I look at my little girls, listen to them laughing and see them smiling.
I hear their little grizzles about all the terrible things in their lives.
Not being able to find their favourite toy, not being allowed to stay at the park or being unhappy with their lot at dinner time.
I envy them their childhood and I worry for them about when their time comes to be grown ups.
There are so many things to worry about as a grown up.
What our generation are doing to the environment. The terrible atrocities that are going on in the world, that just seem to be getting worse.
And the little things, the responsibilities, and the worries.
The life-changing decisions that you make because you want the best for everyone.
But even as you’re making them, you’re sure that you’ve got it all wrong.
The thing about being a grown up is that nobody can take your responsibilities away.
People pulling you in different directions.
Trying to be all things to all people.
Being asked to help people and trying to do it all.
And letting them down.
Money. Having it, spending it.
Spending it before you have it. Paying for your mistakes for years to come.
Work. Not having a job and trying to find one. Working and wishing you didn’t have to.
Not making enough money to pay for the mistakes you made back in the day.
Making the decision that work has to come first. Getting it wrong.
Choosing a home, buying a home and having a family.
Knowing that the home you chose is the perfect place to bring up a family.
Knowing that you can’t stay there. Making the decision to move.
Knowing that it’s the wrong decision.
Not being brave enough to change your mind.
I hope that my children – and all children – will make the most of their childhood, and that I will facilitate that.
I hope that my grown up worries, concerns, doubts and mistakes won’t impact on the best time of their lives.
Because let’s face it, things are all downhill from there.
So for now, my children will keep swinging on the swings, going to theme parks and riding on the train.
They’ll keep smiling, laughing and getting upset by the little, trivial things.
They will go to school, wherever that may be.
They will make friends, break friends and find out about real life.
But I won’t be the one to tell them that being a grown up isn’t much fun.
I won’t let them know about the decisions, the money and the mistakes.
They can learn that for themselves.
And I hope that their lives will be fun and happy and joyful for as long as possible before the weight of responsibility catches up with them.
Keep on smiling little girl.