Time has a habit of racing by doesn't it. And then there are times when something makes you sit bolt upright and question the sanity of a life that races from one overpacked hour to the next.
I don't think I have worked out how to juggle the necessity of mortgage, bills, supporting family and doing the best for the people I care for at work. There is no space left to invest even a scrap of energy in anything else.
Yesterday morning I was looking out of this window before taking my mum to a routine screening test - admiring the early winter sunshine across her too big garden that she adores and is struggling (fiercely independently) to manage. I wandered round her house wondering how on earth we will ever persuade her to make this place easier for her to remain in at some point 'in the future' and glad that we don't have to think about that yet.
We watched the birds together, spotting goldfinches, chaffinches, every type of tit plus the usual blackbirds, pigeons and a cheeky robin. We tried to work out what (and when!) to get those for those last few people for Christmas and we even had a token dabble at thinking about sunny breaks next year.
Then in the space of a few hours the routine had turned into something much more worrying. Suddenly my idle early morning musings come sharply into focus. We might need to think about major surgery, a long recovery... we might be looking at less time...
So I have been awake most of the night - trying to keep my practical 'one step at a time' head on whilst my realistic head, with years in the NHS 'knowing too much', is churning away in the background.
I have no idea what the next few weeks and months will bring. I know that my poor mum is going to have to go through a myriad of tests and treatments, and will resent hugely the intrusion of illness on her life. I know that I will need to help her, and the rest of my family, negotiate the system and understand the language of health care. I don't know how I am going to add this to the spinning plates without dropping at least one.
I hope that we will come out of the other side still thinking about a glass of something chilled in the sunshine...
Take time to breathe the stillness of a crisp winter morning today. Look closely at those you love and imprint them in your mind and your heart. The world is a very uncertain place.