AFTER almost 18 years, this is my last Dad’s Life.
I wrote my first column for the Echo’s sister paper, the Shields Gazette, before my now 17-year-old son Gabriel was born.
All those years ago I talked about my fears about impending fatherhood. I was excited but absolutely petrified at the same time.
If I knew then what I know now, would 14-year-old Isaac ever have seen the light of day?
Of course he would. Parenthood isn’t a role for life, it’s a gift for life which just keeps on giving.
When I achieved my career-ambition of becoming editor of the Echo, I quickly introduced the Dad’s Life/Mum’s Life column to these pages. To many people, I’m not the editor, but ‘the fella who writes about his lads.’
That’s fine by me. For while my job has always been vitally important to me, it’s family that matters most.
And it has been a privilege to share the ups and downs of family life with Echo readers.
Thankfully, luckily, there have always been plenty more ups than downs and long may that continue,
I’ve always tried to tell it as it is, but as the boys have grown older that has become more difficult as what I write can have a bearing on their lives. In short, I can embarrass them without ever meaning to.
So the last few years writing the Dad’s Life column has been a little trickier than in the first few years.
It has always been enjoyable, though, to write about what I know best and what I love most.
My wife has kept every column I’ve written and one day, I’m sure much to their embarrassment, I will, present my lads with them – although I accept that my carefully-crafted words may hastily be consigned to the nearest bin.
It is right that I finish my last column with some thank-yous.
First of all, I thank you, the readers, for your perseverance and patience, and for the feedback I’ve had over the past 18 years or so. Thank you, good luck and goodbye.
Secondly, I would like to thank Gabriel and Isaac. It can’t have been easy to be identified as the ‘lads in the paper’ and there have been occasions where I have written things they’d rather not have seen in print.
Anyone who has read this column in the past will be in no doubt that I am immensely proud of my sons, or that I view my most important role in life to be their father.
Lastly, but never least, I would like to thank my wife. She gave me my boys and is a perfect mother,
In the 18 years of writing this column I have never named her – and that’s been on purpose.
She is not someone who seeks or is comfortable in the spotlight, but this is an exception.
Everything starts and finishes with her, so it is right that my last column ends with her – Rebecca.