I'm getting old. But it isn't all bad. It definitely has its perks.
Seeing the results of my years of parenting all grown-up and doing so well, makes me feel every single moment was worth it. From the sleepless nights to the tantrums to the school runs to the heartbreaks and beyond, I know it has all worked out OK and I must have done a pretty good job for the past 26 years. My three grown-up kids make me immensely proud. Joe balances being a career man with being a family man. His hands on approach to being a dad is wonderful to witness. Seeing your own child as a parent is such a humbling experience.
Megan is following her dreams and is involved in TV and film production. Just a few months ago she took a huge gamble and quit her job in marketing. It hasn't taken her long to make her mark in the industry, starting off as an unpaid runner, gaining a good reputation and being recommended for work. She's currently working for the BBC and can add working with John Hurt to her CV. Her determination and ambition inspires me so much.
Ella is in the middle of her A'Levels and is off to university in September. She's got an exciting future ahead. Our house will be so much emptier without her, but I am so excited to see her take this huge step and will be supporting her all the way. I'll still have my two youngest at home to keep me busy, and we will enjoy visiting everyone at weekends!
Not only am I a grandparent, I am also an incredibly proud Great Auntie (aka Grauntie because it sounds so much cooler!) I am loving the new generation of little people who are taking their place on my family tree, and the promise of future grandchildren, great nephews and great nieces thrills me to bits.
However there is absolutely no denying the fact that my body is ageing, changing and entering a new phase of my life. My hair is gradually losing the battle of the grey but I absolutely refuse to start dying it. My natural hair colour is almost black and the root/dye contrast will be just too stark. So I have to get used to the white hairs sprouting where once dark hair grew. I convince myself that the interlopers, stripped of their youthful tones are silver highlights. It sounds so much more glamorous!
I look at Ian, the man I have known for over 30 years, my husband of 17 years. He has crinkles around his eyes, his beard is salt and pepper and his back doesn't hold out as well as it did a decade ago. But when I look at those laughter lines and grey hairs I see someone I am honoured to grow old with. He always told me he wanted to grow old with me, and here we are hitting our mid forties together and still very much in love. We are still both young at heart, we adore our family and we pride ourselves on still being "down with the kids"!
We don't plan to let the onset of old age bulldoze over us anytime soon. We have embarked on a huge overhaul of our vegetarian diets. We eat cleaner now and actively embrace healthy eating. We have ditched all the processed rubbish, the refined sugars, dairy products and chemical additives and opened our eyes to the joys of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, cooking meals from scratch and finding healthy alternatives in our choice of carbohydrates. We are really enjoying getting creative with courgette 'noodles' and cauliflower 'rice'!
In the scheme of things, these are small changes but they made a great difference to our lives. I have lost weight without 'dieting' and some health issues I was having such as dizzy spells, extreme tiredness and hormonal imbalances seem to have completely gone. (I blame too much refined sugar and a Pepsi Max addiction for the symptoms, so eliminating both from my diet has helped enormously!)
Our advancing years are not something to fear or dread. They hold the promise of many more wonderful adventures. Watching our five children forging their paths in the world, embracing the next generation of our family and enjoying entering the autumn of my years with the man I love.