Dad’s Life: ‘A very Merry Christmas’

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IT’S been a busy fortnight since my last Dad’s Life.

Isaac has turned 14 and we’ve had a lovely, quiet family Christmas.

As many of Isaac’s friends live miles away, we agreed that he could have a sleepover party for his birthday a couple of days before Christmas,

Not the best of ideas. I’m still amazed at the durability of young teenagers. In a way I was impressed that they had the stamina and energy to still be awake and making noise at 3am.

Whereas I’m sure they rebounded back quickly, my middle-aged body was still recovering on Christmas Day.

Thankfully the boys were in great form on the big day – excited and more than willing to engage with the several relations who popped in.

We’d even managed to keep one present hidden from Isaac, which is quite difficult as there’s nothing much he likes more than a Christmas present hunt.

He didn’t find the vibrating gaming chair, which has been a big hit. He even slept in it one night.

Gabriel’s best present was a food hamper from a well-known London store.

We’d added a few items to make it a very well-stocked wicker basket, but he’s already halfway through the goodies, and has so far stubbornly refused prompts to share.

The only thing he has given away are the lemon and clementine Christmas mince pies – which he doesn’t like.

All in all a very merry Christmas. Not even a few shared coughs and splutters could spoil the fun.

WE’RE away for a much longed-for break in the Lakes soon, but before that we have a very different New Year’s Eve.

Different because for the first time the four of us won’t be together. Isaac is keen to go to a neighbour’s fancy dress party, my wife and I are off to some friends for the evening, while Gabriel is having some friends round to our house.

I’m not at all bothered by this, and appreciate that at their age, they’d rather find their fun with their friends than family.

I was exactly the same at their age.

TALKING of which ... by the time I was Gabriel’s age (16) I’d already helped on a milk-round and was a newspaper boy, although I never delivered the Echo.

To date, Gabriel hasn’t been interested in finding a part-time job, but has now found himself one at the Stadium of Light,

I’m really pleased for him. I think paid-for work at his age teaches a lot about commitment and the value of a pound.

The extra money in his pocket will certainly come in handy too.