Leaving us in stitches. A father’s tribute to a brave daughter, and her beautiful scar.

January 31, 2012

I think she knew the answer, but the question came anyway.

“Dad, will this needle hurt?”

The Teenager was sitting in a cubicle at the Children’s Hospital, looking at me with wide eyes. And a gaping hole in her chin.

An hour earlier, she’d fainted. Dropped in the kitchen like a sack of spuds. On the way down, she caught the sharp edge of a kitchen cupboard.

She stood up, her gorgeous face sliced. A serious wound, in the shape of an uneven horseshoe.

The Treasurer and Daughter Two rushed her to the emergency ward. No tears or fuss.

I’d arrived from work soon after. There she was, still in her summer pyjamas, sitting on the bed, smiling. She showed me the damage. My heart sank.

Doctors and nurses fussed over her, prodding, and asking questions. She smiled at them too. Gave polite answers. Then asked for her phone so she could send a photo to all her friends.

It was then decided that the repair work needed to be done by a plastic surgeon. Just to be sure. We were lucky. It was early on Australia Day. The public holiday rush hadn’t started. The specialist was available.

He arrived within twenty minutes. Good looking, naturally. Blonde hair, fit and confident. And young. I have socks that are older.

But his manner was calming. He explained what needed to be done. There would be stitches. And an injection into her face, to stop any pain.

Up until this point, The Teenager had been remarkably calm. Unlike the rest of us. When Doctor Dashing left, her mood changed.

My daughter has two great fears in life. Vomiting, and needles. She was about to experience one. With fears it would lead to the other.

“Dad, will this needle hurt?”

As parents, we spend our life protecting. Shielding children from pain whenever we can. I wanted so much to say she wouldn’t feel a thing. That everything would be ok.

From experience, I knew what was ahead. And I couldn’t lie.

“Well, the needle will hurt. But that’s so you don’t feel the stitching. Some discomfort, to make sure the rest is painless.”

Tears welled in those big eyes. And there was nothing I could do.

We moved to a bigger room, where such procedures are done. Doctor Dashing scrubbed up. His nurse told The Teenager to lie on the bed. No turning back now.

The Treasurer stood bedside, holding her hands. Tightly. I ended up at the other end. Holding her knobbly kneecaps. I don’t know why. It seemed like a soothing thing at the time.

Her loving sister was also in the room. I stopped worrying about how the ordeal was affecting her, when I realised she was practising dance moves next to the oxy-viva. And posting updates on Facebook.

I had a clear view of the pain killing needle going in. That giant, long, thick, ghastly needle. That made my little girl cry.

Doctor Dashing was trying to work quickly, but it seemed to take an eternity. Numb the area, and irrigate the wound. She was trying so hard not to sob.

They gave her time to compose herself, before the stitching began. I told her to close her eyes, and go to a happy place. She nodded, through the tears. I swear I felt her pain.

My daughter dug deep, and found strength I didn’t know she possessed. She lay still, eyes closed, possibly imagining she was on a beach somewhere with Cody Simpson. The place that allowed her to receive twenty stitches without flinching.

That night, there was extra chocolate, and even more chick flicks than usual. She went back to school the next day, even though we said she could have the day off.

The Teenager’s dream, for as long as any of us can remember, has been to be a model. And she won’t be letting a bunch of stitches get in the way.

She has already devised a strategy. Australia’s first Supermodel with a scar. With the gory photos to prove it.

Her positive attitude blows me away. So, too, her bravery. And in my eyes, she’s more beautiful than ever. Every bit of her. Even those kneecaps.

The model family. Except for Dad. He’s got a head like a smashed crab.

September 27, 2011

I accept that I won’t be mistaken for Brad Pitt anytime soon.

It’s never been an issue. Not everyone can be blessed with dashing Hollywood looks.

These days, it’s fair to say that I’m built more for comfort than speed. Maturity, at least in appearance.

It was never a problem when I worked on the wireless. I feature in the Wikipedia entry titled “Great head for radio.”

Don’t tell anyone in the TV world. They haven’t seemed to notice yet. Even behind the scenes I have the potential to frighten small kids and animals.

The reason I feel compelled to outline these cosmetic shortcomings, is that the women in my life are the complete opposite.

They are all good sorts. And it seems others are noticing.

The Teenager is tall, elegant, and gorgeous. That’s a Dad Description.

Daughter Two as well. Another rare beauty. Dad Description # 2. We’re told they have a young, natural look. This, apparently, is a good thing.

Both did a school holiday course a while back, on the basics of deportment. It was run by a leading model agency. They must have been professional, because it cost me a small fortune.

Over a week, the young ladies are shown such things as how to walk tall, and why it’s poor form to spit on the footpath.

It concluded with a formal evening, and as I munched on what must have been the world’s most expensive sausage roll, I had to admit that they both looked stunning.

I thought that would be the end of it. Wrong. There were photos planned for the following week. I pondered a second mortgage. And still more surprises were ahead.

When The Treasurer took them to the studio, a funny thing happened. The photographer decided the girls’ mother should be in the shoot too.

She does have past experience in the modelling world. One year, she was known as the Tuggerah Lakes Mardi Gras Queen. At a younger age. Not that she’s old now. Anyway, let’s move on..

It was decided in the studio, possibly by someone with a pony tail, that the three of them had Something. Together, they had The Look.

Advertisers are constantly searching for The Look. They want happy, smiling families, to show off cars, or cough medicines, or new homes.

After some snaps were taken of mother and daughters, it was suggested that they could be used in commercials. This excited them greatly.

There was, of course, a problem. The happy, smiling family was missing someone. Me.

Forget the fact that I would rather stick bamboo sticks under my toenails than sit in on a photo shoot. This family still needs a father.

The girls explained that the agency would use a replacement dad. It was noted that this didn’t seem to concern them greatly. I could tell by the laughter.

I’m not getting too worried yet. They’re still waiting for the phone call. When it comes, I’ve promised to support my model family. As long as I get a cut of the takings.

I’ve told them I want a say in who plays the part of me. And the ground rules are clear. First and foremost, he can’t be too good-looking.

My stand in needs to be believable. A little older. Maybe carrying a few pounds. A form guide in his pocket. Reading glasses. And bad dress sense. Now, where can we find someone like that?

So, my daughter’s not good enough? Round two between Father and the Boy.

September 13, 2011

After weeks of planning, Daughter Two was having her eleventh birthday party.

A house full of school friends. Games and loud music. Enough sugar to send a Bundy farmer on a Pacific cruise.

Oh, and one other thing. There were boys.

Two in particular. The object of my precious daughter’s affections, and his mate.

You may remember me mentioning the lad in question a few weeks back. From memory, I was calm and laid back about it all. Despite suggestions to the contrary.

At least he had his shirt on this time. Unlike in that ridiculous dancing video. He had a mop of shaggy blonde hair, that was in need of a date with a brush.

He had a go at the hula hoop competition, but was no match for the girls. I almost felt sorry for him.

Defeated, he sat down to watch the others. The opportunity was too good to ignore.

In a classic military move, I came in unsighted from the right flank. No escape path.

We shook hands. He seemed tiny, and uncomfortable. I asked him about footy. He went a shade of red.

All the while, I could feel a pair of eyes burning deep into my back.

Daughter Two was watching my every move. The potential for embarrassment here was deep into the red zone.

I was trying to be cool. No boring dad stories. I didn’t even break into song. But there was a problem.

The last time I’d checked, they were about to be the Year 6 version of boyfriend and girlfriend. Everyone seemed happy. Not counting me.

I’d heard nothing more, and assumed that they were, indeed, an item. Apparently, this is something one needs to check before engaging in conversation.

The girls, all ten of them, were sleeping over. Madness, I know. But the boys were being picked up. Departure time prompted a flurry of activity from the young ladies present.

There was a rush for the door, with a squeal common at sleepovers. They were screaming things like “Don’t you have something to ask the birthday girl?”, and “You still have time!”

I was confused. Nothing unusual for a Friday evening. Until the Treasurer took me aside.

She explained that there’d been a hitch. He hadn’t asked her out yet. The girls thought he would muster enough courage by the end of the party. They were wrong.

It then dawned on me. This kid who I’d been interrogating, was only Boyfriend (pending).

The girls ran inside laughing. It was Pass the Parcel time. For just a second though, I thought I detected a hint of sadness in the eye of my beautiful daughter.

This was an outrage. What was this pint-sized cad thinking? Standing up the most eligible eleven year old in the school?

Because one of the young gum-chewing party guests had taken my comfy black chair, I pondered the situation briefly from the deck. My life till now has been about keeping boys away. Now I wanted one to come back.

I decided the best thing I could do was to go to another room and watch the footy. A sacrifice that fathers make on such nights. I hope you understand.

The rest of the party seemed to go well, apparently. Except for the girl with the allergic reaction to the guinea pigs.

I’ve been told that such matters take time. The boyfriend thing, not the allergy. Although I have given thought to training up the little critters  to attack him during his next dance performance.

Daughter Two just laughed when I asked for details the following day. She said all was ok, and that I should ‘chill’. It seems the family is getting some perverse satisfaction from my suffering.

I hope he realises that this isn’t over. Fathers have long memories. He’ll have to answer my questions again one day. Just as soon as the game  is over.

Driving Dad crazy. Daughter Two gets promoted up front.

September 6, 2011

Daughter Two usually gets stuck in the back seat.

Rarely does she get the chance to travel up front. One of the many burdens of being the youngest.

Age means she’s third in line to the Honda throne, behind mother and sister.

So there’s something of a celebration, on the rare occasion that just the two of us get to travel together side by side.

It happened on the weekend, and like everything else she does, I reckon it’s worth sharing.

She starts by adjusting the passenger seat controls. Every single one of them. This one forward. Tilt up. Cushion raised.

Of course, she won’t return those settings at trip’s end. Few things infuriate The Treasurer more. She’ll later be forced to impersonate a pretzel on entering the vehicle.

Sitting position set, she then takes down our directions, to remind me later.  We’re heading into the city for a function. The Treasurer and The Teenager are already there. We’re the naughty latecomers.

The father/daughter conversation will begin as we leave our street. And it’s the same question every time.

“Dad, why do you always take so long to put your seat belt on?”

It’s true. Another bad habit. I wait until we’ve left our street, before I buckle up. At the same spot up the road every time.

If you happen to be an officer of the law who has strayed onto these pages, the above was totally made up. No need to be waiting for me tomorrow morning.

This thing that I made up angers Daughter Two. She is very safety conscious, and chastises me for my foolishness. “What if we crash, and you die?”

Fair point. I joke that at least she’d be able to walk home while they put the sheet over me. But she’s on a roll.

“Have you ever had a crash? Did you get any cuts and get taken to hospital?” I pause, and decide to invoke Father’s prerogative to make this answer a selective one.

There’ll be no mention of the rear-ender they blamed me for on the Gold Coast. Depending on the availability of court papers, I may or may not have been responsible.

I try to answer cheerily. “Just the one. And it wasn’t my fault. Some idiot ran into me when I was very young. He wrecked my first ever car, and I had to catch the bus for two weeks while they fixed it.”

That was true enough. But she wasn’t finished.

“What happens if the airbags go off? You told me once that kids aren’t allowed in the front seat because they could get hurt.”

The girl can’t remember to take a lunchbox out of her bag on any given day, but recalls some half-assed speech I made years ago. Typical.

I re-assured her that she was older now, and taller. She would be fine. There would be no crash. No airbags.

There’s silence for a while. I imagine she’s compiling a version of my recklessness to tell the family later in the day. She can be quite harsh in such forums. I’m about to issue a new line of defence, when I realise she’s nodded off.

Another of the girl’s remarkable traits. She can fall asleep in an instant, pretty much anywhere. Especially in the car.

It made me think of all the times I’ve carried her to bed at night, slung over a shoulder, from all parts of the house. One of the perks of being a Dad. You get to do the carrying.

This siesta, however, would be a brief one. A song stirred her. On the station she’d changed my radio to. Something else she’s famous for.

“Did you know that Nicki Minaj is the world’s best female rapper? Do you remember this song? You were dancing to it at home last weekend.”

Before I can answer, she starts singing, and dancing. I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard of the singer, or the song. And your guess is as good as my memory about the quality of my dancing. I respond with polite nodding.

We’re nearly at our destination. Two will soon become four again.

Time for one final question. “Are we staying in a fancy hotel?” For her, fancy means free internet.

I tell her it’s where our function is, so it doesn’t need to be fancy. But I’m pretty sure it has wi-fi.

She’s happy with that. Our trip is done. She will soon boast to The Teenager about getting that front seat.

Dads are easily pleased. We love it when our daughters look after us, and ask questions, and fall asleep, and sing songs we’ve never heard of.

When she was little, I’d pull faces at her in the rear view mirror. She’d laugh, every time. That was when she was in the back seat. Now she’s by my side, I’m the one that’s smiling.

Nobody panic. There’s a boyfriend in the room. Just keep him away from your Father.

August 30, 2011

This must be handled carefully.

No need to be silly. A father should remain calm and reasonable.


There’s a boy on the scene. I’m told it could be serious. The real deal.

All this time, I’ve been keeping watch over The Teenager. Doing my best to keep those crazy high school kids in baggy shorts away. Seems my surveillance has been on the wrong daughter.

While The Teenager fights them off with a stick and waits for Cody Simpson (young pop singer in baggy shorts) to discover her, the little sister has been growing up.

Yes, Daughter Two has been struck by Cupid.

I know this because she told me. She was very excited about it. So much so that she failed to notice my knees buckle.

The Treasurer, who reads me like a dog-eared book, was expecting such a reaction, and caught me. It’s becoming a habit.

This is not quite the traditional tale of love and romance. More a Grade Six version.

A deal is in place with one of her best friends. The boy’s current girlfriend. But not for much longer.

The lad has declared that he likes Daughter Two instead. So there will be a handover, much like sharing a chocolate muffin at first break.

The ceremony will take place on Friday. Everyone seems quite happy with the arrangement. My head was spinning.

We asked if this had the potential to cause problems with their friendship. No, she said. The other girl is fine. She’s moving on too. Everyone’s a winner.

As I pondered the generosity of the younger generation, I was advised there was a video that I needed to see.

We gathered around the laptop, to see a skinny blonde boy dancing. It must have been hot that day, because he wasn’t wearing a shirt.

It was him. A smooth-moving eleven year old with protruding ribs and footy shorts. And his own YouTube page.

Daughter Two was giggling like a … schoolgirl. So too The Teenager. Even The Treasurer was enjoying it. They thought he was putting on quite a show.

I was speechless. When he wasn’t strutting to the music, he was talking to the camera. About everything and nothing. In his lounge room. Where does a kid get that sort of confidence?

It would seem I’m about to find out. We’ve having Daughter Two’s birthday party next week. And he’s invited.

Each night we receive strict instructions on how to act. Most of the directions are aimed at me.

Don’t ask him questions. No bad jokes. Avoid any talk about his dancing. Don’t mention the footy. Most of all Dad, DON’T embarrass me!

As if that would happen. I’ve promised to be on my best behaviour. All I’ll do is have a simple chat with him. Father to Dancing Boy. What could go wrong?

And there’s one more thing. A girl’s first relationship is a delicate matter. Privacy is important. I’d hate for anything to go wrong. Do me a favour and keep this between us.

Gifts from a Father to his Daughters. Sizzled snags, and freaky feet.

August 16, 2011

It’s amazing what makes a father proud of his daughters.

There are the usuals. Academic excellence. Sporting greatness. Anything that might attract riches to accelerate an early retirement.

And then there’s how they like their meat cooked.

When you’re talking classic BBQ fare, my girls are in the Well Done camp.

Only the blackest of steaks. Charred snags. It’s enough to bring a tear to a weekend chef’s eye.

None of this medium rare stuff. Like their Dad, they want to know that the beast being eaten is beyond saving.

It’s a trait you’d expect from a beefy son. Instead, my very feminine daughters are holding up a family tradition.

It surprised me at first. And for some ridiculous reason, made me happy.

Dads like to know that they’ve passed something on down the line. Especially to the females.

Boys are easy. They usually have the same bowling action as the old man, and enjoy similar taste in action movies. Carbon copies. Girls are different.

To discover that like me, they’ll turn their nose at any chop that isn’t on fire, was a satisfying moment.

No surprise that all this careful evaluation of family habits came to me while I was burning meat on the deck.

You may be aware that the mere mention of BBQ in our house is accompanied by a cool drink. Two if the gas happens to be turned low.

That could be the reason I started thinking of other things that The Teenager and Daughter Two have inherited from their dear dad.

It would be nice to think the list would include items that the Good Parenting manual spruiks. Respect. Manners. Consideration for others.

Or Toes. Skinny, ugly, protruding Toes.

Mention this to the youngest one, and her usual dazzling smile will go missing. Something of a sore point.

It’s true that my feet aren’t the highlight of an impressive anatomy. Extended family members have barred me from exposing any flesh below the ankles.

Fork Toes, they call me. Such insults from my own people.

Sadly, Daughter Two has them too. As much as I adore her, I must admit those feet are pretty scary. Long, and bony. Don’t tell her that though.

She has also made the outrageous claim that I have a head not dissimilar to a melon. And that the Huge Head gene has been passed down to her.

The Treasurer says the area above our neck is nothing like the bowling ball being suggested by others. Her soothing words work for me. The girl is having none of it.

The Teenager is a little luckier. She has normal feet, and a head of regular proportions. The benefit of being in the image of her striking mother.

Between them, they’re loud, and they laugh lots. They have a love of family, and a desire to look after each other. We’re happy with that.

It’s a bit early to tell if either has taken on my party habits. Let’s hope not. A beautiful young lady belting out a Kenny Rogers classic might not the ideal way to trap an eligible gent.

Still, he’ll be a lucky lad, the bloke who eventually wins the heart of one of these fair maidens. No steak he cooks will ever be too tough. And the snags can sit on that hot plate forever.

A few tips for the boys though. No mention of the melon. And don’t complain if someone happens to keep her shoes on.

A lady with attitude and a runny nose – Chelsea brings some joy to the world.

April 26, 2011

It was hardly appropriate behaviour in the house of God. Even I knew that. The person just up from me was out of control. There was screaming. Punching. Tears. At one stage, a grab was made at the breast of the woman next to her. Outrageous.

Those in the front row were doing their best to find a solution to the chaos. Soothing words. Shiny objects. Cuddles. Nothing worked. There were stares from others, obviously more accustomed to quiet reflection in church.

 The wonderful thing about being 16 months old is that you don’t care. Chelsea didn’t tell me that herself, but I’m guessing she lost no sleep over the unholy outburst. After all, it was her big day. She could do what she liked.

We spent Easter Sunday at the christening of a special little girl. A very loud girl. Surely no carol has been sung with such gusto in that Cairns church than the notes she reached from Pew One.

Christenings are good spectator sport. It’s a group activity. Others are there doing the same thing. Sort of a spiritual buffet. Comparisons are inevitable. Which frock is whitest. Who has the brightest candle. That sort of thing.

Each party was given their own row. We were on the right hand side. From what I could see, amid the thrashing going on along our bench, the other babies had their best manners on show. The mob in the centre row would send a look our way every now and then, with the slightest hint of smug.

Granted, their little bloke was doing everything right in his first start. No tears. Big smiles at Grandma. No throwing shoes at the priest. Ticking all the boxes.

All smooth sailing on the left row too. Their party was perfect at repeating the bits from the little blue book. The bub wasn’t even fiddling with the bow in her hair. Unlike Chelsea, who by now had a stream of nasal discharge pooling on the church floor.

It got me thinking. Could this be the next reality tv series? The Biggest Baptism? My Christening Frock Rules? Each row could be a different colour. Cameras at home, and outside the church. Candid interviews with the priest on how he wanted to throw that noisy lot out. Troublemakers eliminated, so that only the shiniest, holiest survive. We could be on to something.

After a painful, ear-splitting half hour, we were almost done. Chelsea was now hanging upside down, frilly-socked feet in the air, as we hit the home turn. Her loving parents were a deep shade of red. Team Perfect across the aisle had progressed to head shaking.

The Treasurer had a role in proceedings too. She had to bring forward the new dress. When she was asked. All part of the ceremony apparently. But there was a problem. She left the gates early.

The starter, Father Martin, was less than impressed. Like nothing else was going wrong for him. He called for the dress carrier to return to her seat, his irritation obvious. She’s been ordered to barrier trial to the satisfaction of the church.

The girls and I thought this was a highlight. The Treasurer didn’t. She quietly suggested that this episode should not be written about, so we’ll not mention it again.

Despite all the dramas, Chelsea did get her head wet. I might have been imagining it, but I reckon the priest dunked her with just a splash more water than the others. Obviously one of those old pulpit jokes for those who stray from the hymn book.

I mentioned earlier that Chelsea was special. That’s what the family of Little Mr Perfect didn’t realise. They don’t know the half of it. That noisy bundle of joy was fifteen years in the making. To a mum and dad who refused to give up. Their only child, finally. The end result of so much love.

Yes, she was the most disruptive baby ever to don the tiny white gown. Responsible for a turn that will be talked about through the ages. But none of us cared. We still think she’s an Easter miracle.

Shame we didn’t have the cameras on her. It would have been great tv. I had her ahead on points. The judges might have thought otherwise. I’m no expert on these things, but I reckon the Executive Producer upstairs would have given her the thumbs up too.


From Phar Lap to Hannah Montana – what fathers do for their daughters.

April 19, 2011

Hannah Montana revealed her true identity, just as final scratchings came through.

The squawking teen actress took off her wig on a false Jay Leno show. It had all been a sham. The gig was up. Emotions ran high in our house. My red pen almost missed non-starters in the last.

Does any other punter in the land start race day with Saturday Disney blaring in the background? The rest are getting the latest track upgrade while I’m marvelling at the acting ability of Billy Ray Cyrus. Although it should be said that the man had a mullet to die for.

We’ve watched this damn show from the very start. Some episodes time and again. The very loud Tennessee teenager is almost part of the family.

Daughters will do that to a man. I’m used to it now. Long ago, things changed around here. A father with a house full of women learns to live his life differently. But it wasn’t always this way.

As a young man, sharing a house with other young men, the choice of home entertainment was simple. We had two movies on the shelf. Phar Lap, and The Man from Snowy River. For a long time, I thought Tom Burlinson was the best horseman this country had produced.

We’d usually whack the videos in on a Friday or Saturday night, after arriving home from our local, a little on the damaged side. Viewing would be done with several pies, picked up on the way home, and if we could squeeze another in, a cool drink. Or two.

We knew all the lines. There’d be cheers when Tom the Man took off down that impossible cliff. Boos when those mongrels gave Tom’s Phar Lap even more weight to try to have him beaten in the Cup.

The bagmen would offer long odds for any of us to still be awake when the credits were rolling. More likely, we’d find a snowy pattern on the tv the next morning, along with a throbbing head.

Sure, Rambo and Rocky would get a decent run from the local Video Ezy. But those iconic horses were the stars of our living room in the eighties.

Somehow, I’d always imagined treating a son to those movie classics. A young bloke in his high chair, burping with glee at watching Tom plant one on Sigrid Thornton’s cheek, just before breaking in the mob. But it wasn’t to be.

Early on, the girls loved the Wiggles. And Hi-5. We knew the songs. All parents do. I went to concerts for both of them. Eldest daughter and I even got to meet the Hi-5 gang back stage before one of their shows. For a brief period, that had me as the coolest dad on the block.

As they got older, the girls became more, well, girly. The stars in our house were singers and dancers. Young women like Hilary Duff. She played Lizzy McGuire, a tween who became like a third daughter to me. And Emma Roberts, and Ashley Tisdale, and Taylor Swift. I’m doubling my bet that you don’t know who those people are. Then there’s Miley Cyrus. Miley is actually Hannah. Remember, the one who took off her wig? That sound you can hear is old football mates shaking their heads.

Some of you might have heard of Lindsay Lohan. You may have seen her on the news. One of her numerous court appearances. She goes harder than Fevola in the party stakes. Drink. Drugs. Shoplifting. Although Fev probably has her as far as pokies go.

I know a different Lindsay. The cute little girl who played twins in a movie years ago called The Parent Trap. Then there was Freaky Friday. Funny stuff. Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. Can you believe I’ve seen every single movie this wild child has made. Every one. I can’t even say that about Robert de Niro. Or Sylvester Stallone. What does that say?

My point is, they’ve changed me. I know things that happen in cheerleading movies. And not the ones we used to watch. Ok, maybe we had more than two movies in that old house. I sing along to their songs. I don’t complain when we watch Cadet Kelly for the tenth time. Hilary’s in that one. She joins the cadets and her mum meets a new dad and…..well, I’ll spare you the details.

We have our own dvd of High School Musical. Haven’t seen it? Think a modern-day Grease, with less smoking.

I went to a Taylor Swift concert. She’s a young country singer with more money than the Queen. This is a bloke who cheered Midnight Oil when they played mid-week in pubs, and rocked with The Angels when Mum thought I was studying. I left the concert early. The girls didn’t mind. They sang me all the songs I missed over the following weeks. There really is no escape.

Please don’t think I’m complaining. Fathers of daughters wouldn’t change a thing. We whinge sometimes about being part of a new dance routine in the kitchen, but secretly, we love our lot. It’s a blessing. Just one none of us saw coming.

Hannah Montana is about to wind up. Miley Cyrus is all grown up now. It goes so quick. We’ll be watching together on Saturday morning. Every chance I’ll struggle with the scratchings again. That’s ok. Another chapter in the rollercoaster ride of being a dad is coming to a close. Expect tears to be shed. The girls will be upset too.