Party like it’s November 1999

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Eighteen. How the hell did that happen? Daughter #1 is 18 tomorrow.

I know people say, “Ooh, where does the time go?” but really, where have the past 18 years gone and how come our baby is an adult now?

It seems like about three weeks ago that the boss popped her out and we brought her home and the only way we could get her to sleep was to drive around in the car – and she kicked off big time when we stopped at traffic lights.

Then school. Breaking her heart every morning in the line-up for the first two terms of Reception Class and then skipping in while holding the teacher’s hand when she thought I wasn’t looking.

The bumps and bruises.

Cracking her face open after jumping up and down on her bed, falling off and faceplanting on the corner of a wooden cot, breaking her arm falling off a slide in Williamson Park and then breaking her wrist rollerblading in Happy Mount Park.

Eighteen birthdays and 18 Christmases.

Ploughing up and down the lounge with a trolley full of wooden bricks on her first birthday, dressed head to toe in a Manchester United toddler’s kit with her name and age on the back (hey, dad’s got to have some perks).

11+ and big school.

In the blink of an eye she goes from looking like she’s been playing in the dressing up box to 10 GCSEs, A-levels and offers from five universities.

Driving lessons and endless summer evenings together on test routes around Heysham. A fail and then a pass.

Then the boss’ car is “borrowed” and our insurance premiums rocket.

Especially when she brings it back with six feet of go-faster stripes down one side where some halfwit crunched along it.

And finally, a metal record box packed in November 1999, to be opened on November 17 2017, containing the No.1 single at the time (She’s The One by Robbie Williams), newspapers from the day, all the cards, flyers for club nights, scan pictures, hospital tags and a long-sleeved United shirt from the Treble season with Beckham 7 on the back signed by the man himself.

Happy birthday x.