Dad’s Life: A pleasure and a privilege

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GABRIEL was 16 on Tuesday. Wow, I’m still struggling to comprehend where those years have gone.

I remember holding him in my arms for the first time. I promised him I would always love and protect him.

I’m not sure why I chose to protect him, and whereas the first bit has always been easy, the protect bit is getting harder the older he gets.

Protecting a baby, a toddler and then a young child is a lot simpler than protecting a 6ft 1in teenager who wants to see and do the things that teenage boys want to sample.

I guess that urge, that instinct to protect your child will always be there, no matter how old they are or whatever their life circumstances.

I’m not entirely sure that his old dad would have been the one he would have chosen to spend his 16th birthday with, but that’s what happened.

We started at a lovely cafe for breakfast, then I took him for a wet shave at a very traditional barber’s, then I bought him his first suit (he needs one for the sixth form), then I took him to the pictures, followed by an evening meal with his mum and aunt.

Sixteen-year-old boys aren’t particularly effusive, but I think he enjoyed himself.

I know I did, and it was a pleasure and a privilege to spend the day with him.

MY regular reader may realise there is someone missing from the description above.

Isaac returned home today after a week in Italy with his school.

I vividly remember school trips to Vindolanda, Beamish and Saltburn. I have vague memories of a trip to Edinburgh, where we taken to an opera, of all things.

But Italy? Things have obviously moved on. His trip included days in Rome, Pompeii and Capri, which tend to suggest things have moved on a pace.

We’ve had the odd text message and he rang on Tuesday to wish his brother happy birthday, but he’s obviously been too busy enjoying himself to maintain regular contact.

He’s only back for about four weeks, then he’s off again with the school – this time he’s on a German trip.

Jealous of my globe-trotting younger son? You bet.

GABRIEL went to the Evolution Festival in Newcastle last weekend.

 He arrived home late on Saturday night having stood immobile in front of one of the stages for about eight hours. He was exhausted, hungry and his clothes smelled very odd. “It was just brilliant dad,” he proclaimed. Oh, to be young again.