Who’s the Daddy? column

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Here’s a sobering thought; what if these are the golden years. What if these are the happiest days of your life, when you’ve got your kids every day, your bills are paid and there’s a few quid left at the end of the week to spend on wine to share with your other half.

One day, when you’re dribbling your last in a retirement home and your children have emigrated to New Zealand or Canada and the only living soul you’ve spoken to in the last fortnight is your carer, this time in your life will feel like golden sunshine on your face on the first morning of a two-week beach holiday somewhere lovely.

At the moment it might feel like you’re nothing more than a glorified butler/maid/taxi driver whose house looks like the venue for auditions for the next Inbetweeners movie, with gaggles of loud and awkward teenagers cluttering up your precious sanctuary.

But the clock is ticking. And when the alarm goes off and your kids fly the nest forever they will do so without a backwards glance.

Occasionally the boss and I go all gooey when we see a newborn nipper with their mum when we’re out and about together. Then after a few seconds we give a little synchronised shudder when the brutal reality of it all comes flooding back.

Nappies, sleepless nights and teething babies are nobody’s idea of a good time.

Whereas shopping trips and going to gigs with your children who can wash, dress and feed themselves is parental nirvana.

Last Friday night we bought a couple of disposable barbeques, some burgers, sausages, chicken and bottles of beer and did a quick cook-out while it wasn’t raining.

As I did my best not to burn everyone’s dinner while knocking back a cold one in the warm evening sunshine, our children and a pal from school held a burping competition.

No iPads, no mobiles, no internet, no TV. Just a can of Coke each and belching and laughing so hard they could wake the dead.

See that? That’s childhood, that is.

To them it was just another day but to me it was magical. No cares, no worries, just burping and howling with laughter.