Happy Birthday Rebecca!

My work here is done. Rebecca turns 21 tomorrow and so all parental responsibility ends at midnight. It’s been a wild ride and now I can put my feet up, relax and never worry about either of my daughters ever again now that they are both over the age of majority.

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If my parental journey has taught me anything it is this. Those younger years of a birthday party every weekend, reading bedtime stories and hosting sleepovers for 35 kids were the easy bit. Once they started growing up, having minds of their own and bloody boyfriends the fun really started. Still, with them both now officially grown up, life will be a breeze I’m sure.

We celebrated the event will a full-blown 21st party last night at my Dad’s golf club. It had a Disney/Pixar theme and it was fantastic that so many of those attending got into the spirit of things and dressed up accordingly.

Louise was dressed as Ursula. She doesn’t have a severe blood pressure problem.

It was a traditional family do, with guests of all ages and the obligatory buffet with enough pastry based goods to keep Gaviscon in business for the next few years. Tragically, we seemed to have over-catered by some distance and I had to bring home several “platters” worth of party food that will need eating before it goes off. I accept the challenge.

There was  dancing and some Mustard action too, and Rebecca had a great night which was the whole point after all. She loved the venue so much that towards the end of the evening she even gave the toilet bowl a cuddle for a few minutes. These moments of parental pride have to be savoured before they flash by in the blink of an eye.

So for those of you who have “known” Rebecca virtually, that little girl you saw in those trip reports on the Dibb is now 21 and a Mum. Yep, I feel old too. I mentioned those sleepovers earlier. Here are some of the girls who used to take over our house on a regular basis.

So there we are. Parenting “done” in what feels like five minutes. I know that’s a cliché, but most clichés exist for a reason. Would I do it all again? Sure, it’s been the best job I’ve ever had and the only one that I’ve enjoyed. Would I do things differently? Christ yes, I might have enjoyed the job but I couldn’t even begin to count the number of mistakes and things I wish I could re-do. Such is life.

Neither of my offspring have been to prison, drug rehab or a Coldplay gig so I guess you have to count that as some sort of success. One thing I got absolutely right were the holidays. There were many years when a sensible man wouldn’t have blown a small fortune on getting us across the Atlantic and the penny-pinching before and after was a strain and a struggle, but as I have said a million times, but it’s still true, your kids are only the age they are once, that day, that minute and you have to make the most of it.

Every time I see someone say they are going to wait to go to Disney (or anywhere for that matter) until their kids are older and can appreciate it I want to cause them harm. You will never get that chance again. That moment, that year vanishes in a puff of smoke whilst you do the commute and make their tea. If you can afford it, go, always, there is nothing to debate. It’s no good, in my view, looking back when they turn 21 thinking, coulda woulda shoulda. Some of our most fantastic experiences and memories are from our WDW trips and we are just getting started (sorry Louise).

Enough preaching and sepia tinged schmaltz. I have things to do, buffet to eat and another gig this afternoon. Happy birthday Rebecca, you’ve been a constant (well, almost) source of joy, fun and laughter and it’s a privilege to be your parents. Never doubt what a fantastic job you and Tom are doing with Freddie. Your Mum and me are astounded every day at how two people of your tender years are taking everything in your stride. Soak it all in because in about five minutes you’ll be posting photos from Freddie’s 21st and God knows what shape I’ll be in then!

Love you pud.

Till the next time…..

A Little Less 21 Candles….

I often see posts on Facebook where parents are wondering where the time went before telling everyone that their child is now whatever age they are. I’ve done similar many times I’m sure.

The perception is that you blink and then somehow find your kids are no longer kids, you are three stone heavier and persistently feel the need to nap. Just me? OK.

I think I know where the time goes. It passes at the same rate whether you are doing something you hate or something you love, it’s just that you just tend to block out the former and so your memory recalls only a percentage of all the days, minutes and seconds you’ve spent with your kids. It’s a bit like childbirth. Lord knows I was mentally scarred by the pain of horror of it all the first time around. How Rebecca came to be I don’t know, as after all that sitting around and waiting for Emily to pop out, you would have thought it had put me off for life!

This time perception confusion is just one of life’s mysteries, like why I’m still paying the mobile phone bills for my daughters every month even though they are 19 and 21!

Yes, Emily turns 21 next week and we have been out this weekend to celebrate that with some of the family. As usual, a Williams celebration involved food, and probably more than was healthy or necessary. The main benefit of this milestone is that she’ll be able to come to Jellyrolls with us when we go on holiday next year! This is great news as up until now we’ve had to leave the kids outside with of bottle of pop and a rape alarm.

I think she will need to carry ID well into her forties though as she has never looked her age. This burden will become easier to tolerate as she gets older I’m sure.

It is only natural for me to treat any meal out as an excuse to pretend I’m doing a trip report and take pictures of everyone and more importantly their food. For anyone localish we went to the Retreat in Adlington and it was lovely.

Here are Rebecca and Tom doing a good job of being cheerful even though food has not yet arrived.

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Emily and her Nana…..

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Food at last, this was Emily’s Beef Nachos appetiser (yes I said appetiser, what of it?)
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Louise and I had Halloumi Fritters, but I believe there is an over the counter cream for that….

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Tom, quite rightly ordered using the “which dish is the biggest” method and went for an appetiser of “Meat Platter”. He also had half of Rebecca’s garlic bread and finished off Emily’s nachos.

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Most of us had the Jack Daniels Bourbon Beef Skewer, which is not a euphemism.

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A few cocktails later….

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I am clearly out of practice as I’d started my dark chocolate cheesecake before remembering to take a photo…

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Emily had Creme Brulee, which I finished off.

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Once we were back home the inevitable Disney themed cake was set on fire with twenty-one candles.

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Emily’s birthday is not actually till Tuesday and she shares it with Oli. Look how happy he is about it!IMG_0168

Emily with her Grandma who is clearly off her nut on champagne and frosting.

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Emily picked up quite a few of her presents last night with a couple to come on Tuesday no doubt. Her main present from us is a trip to London in a couple of weeks to watch Les Miserables in the West End. She may never stop crying!

Happy Birthday Pud. Here come the usual collection of photos that will embarrass you…..

dad scruch nose

Taken yesterday

WDW 2013

chip n dale

emily nose pierce

Emily prom 2

Girls good food

Till the next time…….