I was woken in the middle of the night with a forehead gently placed on mine. I don’t think I had felt so asleep, and then so hurtled into being awake, in a long time.

A need for painkillers for her teeth, a need for a hug. I lay with her in the dark stroking her hair, listening to Harry Potter and the gentle hum of her fan that she insists on being on even in February. I told her over and over it would all be ok, to get some sleep, that I loved her. She asked me not to go. Ten more minutes. Two more minutes. It’s ok now Mum.

I lay in bed for hours after that tossing and turning. Woke with a jolt at 8: late for everything. She was already up: singing, making toast, grumbling about school, winding up her sister, taller than me.

I don’t want her to be little again – nearly 13, funny, smart, confident and aggravating is all good for me. But despite my exhaustion and morning headache I wouldn’t trade that moment in the night for anything.

Hug those not so little ones close when they let you.

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