So we've been sickly, husband and I, and the girls have been amazing (I know I've mentioned all this), and now we're on the mend and re-emerging back into the world. And, as always when I've been ill, feeling a little tender and fragile in the harsh public eye.
In retrospect (always right?), there was something very special about 4 days, at home, with my beloveds, especially at this mad time of year.
My girls are doing such a giant leap forward at the moment, their little downy chick feathers starting to hold them aloft for short spans of time.
Frieda is off for her first sleepover tonight. At the home of a friend she's had since toddlerdom, good people, a safe comfortable home. She left with enthusiasm, excitement and that slight tightening round the mouth that I know as apprehension. A little delicious nervousness like listening to a scary story - enjoying the thrill in the knowledge that it's all going to be okay.
I, of course, felt completely sentimental. Had to keep my sunglasses on while hugging her goodbye, felt like moping a bit when I passed her empty room earlier.
She's been sleeping over at Granny's since she was 2, she's just a few suburbs over for goodness sake. I've a friend who's just dropped her teenage daughter off for her first wild summer holiday in the same stomping badlands of our youth, Julie's daughter is off skiing in the Alps, but I'm feeling miz that Frieda's spending one night in the home of her good friend just down the line.
Get a grip.
I didn't really think we could spend the rest of their lives here, altogether, them near naked and innocent, the sun shining, watching and reading things we'd chosen, talking and listening to each other, having cuddles and giggles and arguments and games - just the 4 of us (and a squillion snotty tissues).
But for a little while it seemed maybe we could ...