Twenty years ago today, at 3.15am after some 18 hours of labour (right through the middle of the second ever Red Nose event), my darling daughter Squid was born. And just one minute later, my old mother called the delivery suite to ask about progress. (We always suspected my mother was a witch).
Its a scary thought. 20 years ago, SWMBO and I stopped being a couple, and started being a family. With all the horrors financially of living in a very expensive city (Edinburgh), on very little wages. But god, it was fun. Soon the ankle biter was indeed crawling around, chasing cats, stealing grapes from shelves at our corner shop, and basically being a very happy baby indeed. I blame SWMBO for this. I travel a lot, and see young parents and screaming children and thank god that Squid was never like that.
It was only when Squid was two years old, and her appendix burst, that I learnt the real meaning of fear, and the possibility of loss. And the anger of an employer - Sky TV - demanding that I should leave my wife and child in Hospital (the Edinburgh Sick Kids - a wonderful place) whilst she was being operated on - and return to my desk. Else I'd get fired. Two weeks in hospital, two nights home and then another two weeks in Hospital. SWMBO stayed at her bedside, and in the accomodation at the hospital. A bleak time for our young family.
When Sarah was four, we moved from Edinburgh, via Skye and Westhill, to south of Aberdeen. We got a dog (who just recently passed away), and Sarah learnt how to hold the garden hose - just so - through the cat-flap, in order to soak us parents.
For the last three years, I've been enormously proud of her as she attacks Art College in Dundee - staying in her own flat, trashing her own car "Garth" (and indeed buying a new one last week - leaving me with the old one - "Wayne" to dispose of), selecting her own boyfriend (grrr), and generally being far far more grown up than I was at that age. By her age, I had already been fired from one job, booted out of University, got married, bought a flat in Edinburgh that was way beyond my means, partied far far too long and hard, had a serious motorcycle crash, and knocked up the missus. Indeed, in about four months time, she will have equalled my academic achievement.
Shes no longer a teenager now - arguably, she's now far more an adult than I am.
Happy Birthday, Squid.
We call her Squid - after the Men In Black movie - her favourite for a long time - where Will Smith delivers an alien child and happily exclaims to the mother 'Its a Squid!'.