Then I heard Millie downstairs, singing. It could’ve been any song, but there she was, singing away to herself.
So I put the phone down and listened to my daughter singing. And happy.
It reminded me of the scene in American Beauty where Kevin Spacey asks if his daughter his happy, and the wonderful expression on his face when he’s told she is.
I loved that scene even before I was a dad. I love it even more now.
But later, taking both girls to school, was tinged with melancholy after I realised they no longer need me to wait with them for the gates to open.
A teacher comes to unlock the gates to the infants playground when school starts at 8.45, but the juniors’ gate is open from 8.30 onwards. Millie has been a junior for a few years now, but I still waited with Amber – we’d have a little chat, a laugh and a hug while we stood there in the rain and sun, summer and winter.
Now, they both go straight in. I only need walk to the school gates, give them a kiss, tell them I love them and to have a nice day, and off they go.
They’re growing up, and as much as it’s great getting lie-ins again and the freedom of not needing to keep an eye on them all the time…there’s a pang of regret that I’m not the centre of their world any more.