I was recently walking the dog up a very steep hill.
I also stopped so that I could turn myself around and look how far we had come.
The incline had been at such an angle my legs ached with a painful buzzing sensation.
My eyes scanned the landscape and I couldn't help but feel disappointed that actually it didn't look like I had ascended that high at all.
I took a reluctant photo of the view and put my phone back in my pocket - it didn't seem worth taking a picture of the distance we had come, but I thought I'd take the photo anyway.
When I got home and reviewed my pictures it struck me just how metaphorical the walk was when thinking about our journey with Amy thus far.
My climb up that hill may not have looked so steep to someone viewing my picture.
But on our journey so far, even though it has been only four years, the path was far from flat and smooth.
The wind may feel like a constant slap to the face; so cold that it turns your cheeks and nose red and impairs your ability to breathe clearly.
You may cough and splutter and want to turn around and give up - but you can't.
You can get so immersed in your determination to plod on that you may neglect to admire your surroundings.
The struggle is real but so is the beauty of the trees.
You may spend so much of your life floundering through appointments, phone calls, meetings and so on, that you don't stop to take stock and be amazed at just how far your child has come and how they are blossoming from a toddler to a full on child!
Take each step of the journey in your stride; cry, scream, shout into a pillow - but don't forget to laugh, smile, feel gratitude for this unique path you have been presented with.
Now I am finding my footing, navigating my way a long a tricky path.
The mud sliding beneath my feet as I feel deep regret for once again making the incorrect choice of footwear for this venture.
Using the chunky roots of trees to provide me traction to prevent me from falling to my knees I make my way a long.
I navigate myself around the puddles as best I can, inevitably immersing my shoes in a thick cake-ish brown.
I want to look up at the trees but for fear of losing my ties to the ground I make do with the occasional glance.
You'll pull up hard to get your feet out of the mud so you can make your next step.
You may see the other walkers - they seem to have come well equipped with walking sticks to give them balance and help them as they make their ascent.
They may have been given a slightly easier path - maybe it was by chance, or maybe they are better planners.
They don't seem as bothered by the wind and seem to be progressing with vigour.
It is easy to compare your journey to theirs.
Sometimes it can feel so unfair that your path had to seem the most treacherous when others have a path that seems entirely smooth and flat.
Others may have a path that is built on a cliff and surrounded by storm clouds - this doesn't invalidate your journey, don't let it undermine your struggles.
We all only truly know the path that we have travelled and the path we are following.
Just because it may not look like you came that far - chances are, if you stop and turn around and consider the terrain and the obstacles you overcame thus far - you will be incredibly proud of yourself.
I realise that comparing our lives to turbulent waters, stormy seas and hilly walks can appear slightly cheesy, but I always find great comfort in being able to make sense of everything by using metaphors.
I hope that this post resonates with many of you and that you enjoy the path you have been given.
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