I have four young daughters. Each one is completely different to the other, and living with them as they grow up is an experience I was as unprepared for as any parent. I still smile when I remember how a friend, in a moment of intense frustration, bemoaned the fact that his children hadn’t come with an instruction manual. At times they can infuriate, exasperate, frustrate and incense their parents. At other times – more often than not – they can fill our lives with smiles, laughter, wonder, exhilaration and a level of affection we would never have dreamed ourselves capable of. Then one day, as we see them becoming stronger and more capable of dealing with their own lives, we wonder why we suddenly feel tired; we wonder where our lives went whilst we focused on our children. But none of that really matters. We put as much of our selves into our children as we have to give, and in return we get something that words haven’t a hope of expressing. I remember the intensity of emotion when one of my children was very ill as a child, and I thought I could feel her life slowly slipping through my hands: or how when another lost all her hair and showed bravery beyond her years, I thought my heart would burst with a mixture of fear, awe and then pride. This last week, the stories of two families who have each tragically lost a daughter will have touched the hearts of many parents and made them hug their children that little bit harder. I can only imagine the pain these families are feeling and my heart goes out to them, but imagining it is enough to make me want to relish every moment of my own children’s lives, from two year-old tantrums to teenage strops and more.