Parents in it for the long haul

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Never thought I’d be pining for the days of the school run but, looking back, maybe it was a golden age after all.

From September 2004 to June 2018, weekday mornings were littered with phrases such as “You’ve got to eat something!”, “Can we go?”, “Shoes!” and “Teeth!” followed by a mad dash to get to the school gates before the bell went.

After what felt like a day’s work, you went and did an actual day’s work. Back then we operated a shuttle, these days our journeys are strictly long haul.

This week’s column comes to you from a lonely motorway service station near Bolton, as yours truly was volunteered for a late-night airport run to pick up daughter No.1 and an unspecified number of her friends after 10 of them spent a week on the lash in Crete.

Same goes for daughter No.2, who gets collected from her auntie’s house near John Lennon Airport in Liverpool every Friday evening by Dad’s Taxi after her week is done at LIPA Sixth Form.

Suddenly, the route from our house to Girls’ Grammar, Ripley and back doesn’t seem so tortuous, even with a set of traffic lights every 100 yards. And when they were at school at least you knew where they were and who they were with. Now? I have no idea. Your guess is as good as mine.

Even shoehorning a wriggling 18-month-old’s legs into tights, and then whipping them off again two minutes later for a nappy change after they do their tell-tale “poo face”, is preferable to waving your teenage daughter off at the airport or train station as they disappear for months on end.

I’ll be honest. Most parents turn on the waterworks when their kid goes off to university for the first time, but for us it’ll be a blessed relief to know what city she’s in and her actual address.

Anyway, Father’s Day passed off without incident, and for the first time in living memory, I wasn’t gifted a piece of garden furniture that the boss fancied.

The kids bought me Billie Eilish’s debut album on orange vinyl and it sounds wonderful on the stereo we’ve had since the early 90s, bought a good 10 years before Billie was born.