Who’s the daddy? My daughter’s young admirers will find it’s me!

with Dave Kelly

Setting his sights on “writing wrongs of the Universe” one column at a time is Dave Kelly

My daughter’s growing up and I don’t like it! When did 14 become the new 18?

Where have all these lads sprung up from, calling at the door like a ridiculous Irish lament with puppy dog eyes, falling all over themselves to hang around with girls? Shouldn’t they be out playing football or cleaning some chimneys somewhere?

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Important year in school and life

My girl is just starting year 10, the most important time at school, so why should this run concurrent with introduction of hormones and junior apes in school uniforms hanging off my gate and beating their chest?

Oh, but I have plans! I knew this was going to come one day. I have mapped out some study guides, pencilled in time to go over revision notes and discuss upcoming topics to try to make sure she has the best chance to get good grades for her future.

What type of grandparent will I be?

While planning all this, it hit me, one day I will be a grandparent! But what kind?

The white haired chap from the Werther’s Original ad? The grumpy old carpenter who lives in his shed? Or the embarrassing old man who gets drunk in the club, pees himself and embarrasses all at family occasions?

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OK, sooner or later I have to face up to the fact that the curly haired little girl has gone and been replaced by a teenager with a bit of sass, who is hard working, conscientious, caring and kind.

She has a good work ethic, is smart and does her chores when asked, understands how to broker deals to stay out a bit later yet also, when lines have been crossed, is accepting when consequences are handed down.

So how the hell did this happen and where has she come from? This has a lot to do with the input from her Grandma Julie, who has been a staple of her life since she was born, right up to the current day ... and a superb one at that.

Grandparents are vital

Grandparents are pivotal in a young girl’s development. They have a special licence to nurture, protect, advise and, more importantly, listen and counsel. Grandparents are more than a baby-sitting option. They can be massive in terms of mastering relationships, establishing boundaries and passing on age-old secret family recipes that make a good Christmas dinner great. They are guardians of moral compasses and providers of unconditional love that lasts forever.

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I didn’t really know my grandparents and feel like I missed out on a major part of growing up ... and birthday cards full of dosh! But I have watched my mum and dad with my brothers’ kids first, then my own nippers, giving valuable lessons on parenting, giving time and encouragement and love that can’t be substituted by money or anything else.

Cutting lovesick chaps some slack

So should I cut these lovesick chaps some slack, knowing full well the pain of teen angst poems, unrequited love and Shakespearean ditties on Snapchat?

Of course I will ... just as soon as she finishes her PHD and pays off the mortgage on her London townhouse! Until then Pappy remains King and woe betide the next junior Prince Charming floating around the ivory tower in Daveland.

After all, who says dads have to be perfect?

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