Daughter #2 is 16 today.
Last time I checked, it was summer 2002 and she was contentedly dozing in her Moses basket while me and the boss switched our brains off and watched Big Brother every night.
The next thing I remember is five years later when she bounced off a trampoline at her cousin’s birthday party and into A&E with what turned out to be a broken arm – 25 days in a pot and it was good as new.
Now she’s 5ft 10ins tall, her GCSE exams started on Monday and, in all probability, she’ll be leaving home in a couple of months to live with her auntie in the big city to study acting at a world-class performing arts school.
Sixteen years gone in a flash. As for birthday presents, this is the one time when, as a father of teenagers, I get to do some grandstanding, waving to the crowds and milking the applause.
Here’s why. Daughter #2 doesn’t really like pop music. Her playlists are made up of modern show tunes from the likes of The Greatest Showman and Hamilton, which I’m told is a bit of a thing.
Hamilton, it says here, is a sung and rapped-through musical about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, pictured, (who sent himself up gloriously on Curb Your Enthusiasm in the Fatwa! the musical storyline) and has won every award going.
So back on January 31, when the latest batch of tickets were released, I bought four for Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London. Birthday present sorted, four months early. Dad’s a hero for once. The hardest thing about it was not blabbing and ruining the surprise. Our performance isn’t until August but tickets sell faster than The Stone Roses reunion and cost twice as much.
Looking at the price of our seats in the stalls, which has since doubled for the few tickets that are left, I thought to myself, “I wish I’d written Hamilton. I’d stage it in every major city in the world and watch the money roll in.” At the time of writing (Wednesday, 7.57am) daughter #2 knows nothing about it. So if you’re reading this before she crawls out of her pit around 7.30am today, don’t tell her.