Marie Louise McConville: A mix of emotions as `Baby James' graduates from nursery
I sometimes wish time would slow down.
The past few months seemed like they were lasting an eternity and the lockdown was never going to end, but now that it has, I feel like things are moving too fast.
I will admit, I had a little anxiety-filled wobble this week.
It suddenly dawned on me that my children have not been in a classroom with a proper teacher for the last three months and whilst it has been lovely having them at home with me, what about their education?
I'm not sure about other working mums, but I have found it a challenge trying to fit in home-schooling while working although I have tried to do what I can.
I woke out of my sleep this week in a panic as I realised that when they both go back to school in September, they will be doing so having only be educated by me these last few months.
While I have had the thought before, I have managed to bury it deep down inside and have pretended there is nothing to worry about.
However, life became very real this week when my little James was invited to graduate from nursery school in a socially-distanced ceremony.
He was just over the moon, as was I as I had feared he wouldn't get to mark the special milestone.
But thanks to the wonderful staff, Alice, Julieanne, Declan and Lynne, he was just delighted when he was invited to go back to graduate.
He proudly clasped his certificate and posed for numerous photos, sporting a gleaming smile and in that moment, I realised my babies are growing up fast.
In March, he was my baby and he enjoyed nursery school.
He loved being around his friends and playing the games and having fun.
As a result of Covid, he has been forced to forego part of his childhood and skip onwards big school.
I am absolutely demented with worry about him starting primary one, really because he didn't have all the time he should have at nursery school to prepare him.
Watching him the other day with all the caring staff making a fuss of him, I was feeling a strange mix of emotions - pride, sadness and worry.
In that moment, I realised time is flying and before I know it, this could be his university graduation.
I am just so angry that this horrible virus has stolen so much from our children and some have been left with the likes of me to educate them at such a crucial time in their development.
I really fear for September and can only hope they will both take it in their stride.
In the meantime, all I can do is support them and teach them and love them to the best of my ability.
But for now, it's time to enjoy the summer.
September and its many worries can wait.
There was some lovely news this week from nine-time Grammy Award-nominated singer and songwriter, Sia, who revealed she is "in heaven" after adopting two boys.
The 44-year-old Australian said the teenagers had been in need of a forever home and were about to 'age out of the foster care system' when she adopted them last year when they were both 18.
The popular performer said her motherhood experience had been a "blessing" and she believes her two new sons have "saved me" and so, she is "in heaven".
Well done Sia. Wishing you and your boys loads of joy and happiness together.
July has finally arrived and the lockdown is pretty much over so let's all get out there and have some fun.
Despite some restrictions still being in place, lots of places have re-opened for families so let's get going.
The lastest venue to throw open its doors is the brilliant Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry, Co Down.
The venue has taken all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of visitors and staff and and visitors are reminded they must book tickets online.
The first class visitor attraction, which is situated on the shores of the beautiful Strangford Lough, offers a long list of fun activities to enjoy.
From meeting Bubbles the clownfish, saying hello to the Asian short claw otters and having a look at a rescued Nile crocodile in the Rainforest Zone, there's plenty to enjoy.
Visitors can also check out the sunken galleon ship in the open sea tank and stop by the outdoor pool area which has an exercise pool that caters for the seal pups in rehabilitation, enabling them to build up their muscles and develop their swimming skills prior to release.
See you there.