Catherine gets married next week. Seriously, there ought to be a law against babies getting married.
Okay, so she doesn't look like this now, and apparently she hasn't for quite some time, but in a part of my heart, she will always be this adorable little girl, bald as an egg, in a denim bib-and-brace.
I am, of course, delighted that Catherine is marrying the man she loves. But she is my girl. I've spent the past twenty years with this beloved daughter under my roof, and her dad and I have adored every minute of these years. And now she's leaving us.
And my heart is awash with mixed feelings.
I am happy for her. But I want my wee girl in the denim bib-and-brace back. Yes, I love seeing her at this stage of life, and love to see her excitement and joy as she anticipates her forthcoming marriage. But I still have this deep ache in the pit of my heart knowing that this new stage of her life means she is no longer going to be primarily our girl; instead, she will first and foremost be 'John's girl'.
In the midst of all my emotion, I also realise that everyone else in our family is going to miss Catherine terribly too, and none more than this fella ...
Catherine has been like a second mum to this guy. She has always been Calum's default go-to, and there has been a special bond between them ever since he was born.
Catherine never had to be asked to look after Calum. It came naturally. She looked out for him, and was always ready to give a listening ear, always there for him to talk to, always willing to give him time. She was patient when he wanted to learn something; she was kind to him even when the 8-year gap in ages was very apparent; and she was always ready with open arms simply to hug him
And so, as my own heart flips and flops with mixes of feelings, as I keep thinking of (and blanking out) how things are going to be for me - for us - in our new life-without-Catherine phase, I also think of Calum and how he is going to miss his beloved older sister/mammy bheag.
Aye, Calum, I do realise I'm not alone. I'm not alone in the way I feel. Yes, I'm Catherine's mum, but the Builder is her Dad, and you are her adored younger brother.
This is new territory for us all. Whilst rejoicing at these new providences in our cup, this whole chapter is new territory for us all.
It is with a fair dollop of trepidation that we walk into this chapter.