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Marie Louise McConville: Watching Abbie in her ballet show made me want to hit the pause button and just hold my baby

Marie Louise found herself getting emotional watching her daughter, Abbie (right) perform in her first ballet show. Abbie is pictured with her friend and fellow baby ballerina, Grace Manley

Someone once said to me that when you're on the road to becoming a parent, it's not the birth that will test you the most - rather, what comes after.

At the time, I didn't really understand what they were getting at but now, three-and-a-half-years in, I get it.

When you're on the brink of becoming a mother for the first time, it can be hard to see past the birth but really, that's just a stepping stone to the next at least 18 years which follow, which bring with them many, many testing times, as well as tantrums and meltdowns (and that's just us parents).

I'm feeling especially emotional this week as I have found myself looking towards Abbie's final carefree summer as she is due to start nursery school in September.

I've had a my head thoroughly buried in the sand for the past months regarding this issue as every time I think about it, I just well up and feel like collapsing in a heap because it feels like I am losing her.

Of course, dealing with the dreaded first day of school all depends on me making it through the summer in one piece and boy, am I being tested.

This week, the McConville clan were invited along to watch Abbie perform in her first ballet show.

Now, bear in mind, she is only three and has only been doing ballet for six months, I was instantly hit by nerves - both for her and me.

Still, off we went to watch the big debut.

However, before we had even entered the hall, I was fighting back tears as I questioned where the last three years had gone.

Suddenly, I longed to be back in that moment when little Abbie was handed to me by the midwife.

And, just as the ballet music began and my baby ballerina tiptoed in, dressed like a princess with a beaming smile on her face, I felt like I wanted to hit the pause button and just hold her and not let go.

She did absolutely brilliantly as she twirled and danced and pointed her little toes and we were bursting with pride when she received her first ever medal for her achievement.

Emotionally, I am now busted though and can't even start to think about nursery.

I know I'm being selfish because she is so ready to spread her little wings and fly into the next chapter of her young life.

I'm just not sure I'm ready to let her go.

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One of Hollywood's most successful couples have revealed what they believe to be the secret to their long and happy marriage.

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, who have been married for 12 years, revealed this week that they never text each other, just do "voice to voice, or skin to skin".

Making reference to the simple rule the couple follow, the Moulin Rouge actress said: "We've never texted. We talk all the time and we FaceTime but we just don't text because I feel like texting can be misrepresentative at times."

Just right Nicole.

Each to their own.

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Competition

Summer is in full swing, so how do you fancy winning tickets to a Co Tyrone music festival?

The fifth annual Dergfest takes place in the grounds of the castle ruins in Castlederg from Friday, July 27 until Sunday, July 29 and there's plenty in store for all musical tastes.

This year's event will be headlined by Australia's hottest DJ duo Teddy Cream, who will play the opening night along with Finnish DJ Darude and Mark McCabe, from Dublin.

Country favourites Derek Ryan, Niamh McGlinchey and Jim Devine take to the stage on Saturday while on Sunday, folk rock band, The Logues are among those performing.

Tickets for Dergfest, which cost £20 per night, are available from Derg Arms, Townhouse, Micky Joes & Logues bar in Castle Derg and online at www.dergfest.co.uk/tickets

I have three pairs of tickets for the final night of Dergfest to give away to three lucky readers.

If you fancy winning a pair of tickets, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to competitions@irishnews.com

Closing date for entries is 12 noon on Tuesday, July 10, 2018

(Q) In which Co Tyrone village is Dergfest taking place?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply

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The winners of the Fresh To Face competition are Amanda Doyle, from Portadown, Catherine Doherty, from Belfast, and Dympna Henry, from Lurgan.

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