So this is it. It’s actually happening. After months of planning and us desperately hoping she’d change her mind, next week daughter #1 goes travelling around South America for three months.
And while she’s giddy with excitement to visit Argentina, Chile, Peru and Colombia, me and the boss are sick to the stomach with worry.
But she’s 19, has paid for it all herself, and even if we’d said no, she’d have gone anyway. So what can you do?
When this idea was mooted for her “Gap Yah”, before taking up a place at Liverpool University to study law in September, we just went along with it because we assumed, wrongly, that there was no chance of it happening. How wrong can you be?
We thought, backpacking around South America takes more planning than the Government has bothered with over Brexit, she’ll get fed up with organising insurance and jabs and go to Barcelona for a bit instead.
But no. Daughter #1 and her mate are off to Gatwick next week to catch a long-haul flight to Buenos Aires. And the three words I can’t get out of my head are: Banged. Up. Abroad.
I’m sure you’ve seen the TV show. Every episode’s a variation on a theme. Young, impressionable girls are hoodwinked into carrying a package through a foreign airport for their “new boyfriend”.
And because they stick out like a sore thumb, they’re an open goal for the world-class security personnel who’ve been catching drug mules their entire adult lives and can’t believe their luck to get such an easy nick. To be honest, I’m getting chest pains just typing this.
Like Doug Stanhope says, conditions in jails in some of the countries south of the equator are horrific - dozens to a cell, lying in your own filth and insects crawling in and out of orifices.
Daughter #1 has inherited the same sense of humour as yours truly and the night before she flies has requested a “Last Supper” (the boss visibly winced) of my chicken tikka masala.
I’m not religious but if anyone feels like giving the old rosaries a rattle on her behalf for the next three months, don’t let me stop you.