My Dearest Laura,
Firstly Happy Birthday sweet 16. Now you would think that seeing as its your birthday I would write you a soppy blog about what a great daughter you are, how you have enriched my life and made me a better person, welllllllll, sorry I'm not going to do that. You see I think its about time I shared some of my favourite memories of you as a kid with the wider world. So sit back, get a drink and be prepared to be embarrassed. By the way I love you.
You were born on 11th June 2000 and to be fair you weren't a bad looking baby, big blue eyes and as bald as Kojak (You tube it). Everyone wanted to see and hold you after all you were the first grandchild, but they came up against that immovable force called the Nana. She was one of the first people there and when she sat in that seat that was it, she wasn't moving for anyone. I was your Dad and after a brief hello even I had to ask to hold you, to be fair if your mother hadn't had been so out of it after the Cesarean I'm convinced your Nana would have moved her out the room as well and left it to be just the two of you. Its important to note at this point that many people tried and failed to remove your Nana from the room, me, your pops, the nurses, the doctors, the United Nations, Nato, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, all to no avail. So me and your pops being the total cowards that we were, and to be honest fearing for our own personal safety, convinced youre Uncle Paul to do it. He was right up for it, right until he walked through the door and got THAT look. Ah the naivety of Youth I'm still not sure hes forgiven us for sending him in to try and persuade her to remove her vice like grip on you.
You were born a day after Euro 2000 started. The hopes and dreams of a nation led by the mighty King Kev, we thought we had a chance of winning it. I had your name and the date printed on the back of my England shirt and proudly wore it in the pub. What a brilliant idea that was I didn't buy a drink all night and got well and truly hammered. I remember singing the dam busters tune all the way home after we beat Germany 1-0. God I was so proud that night we were brilliant. Oh yeah of course I was proud of you as well, its just we hadn't beaten Germany in such a long time it was a special night. Right up there really with you being born. I tried ringing your mum that night to see how you was but this was back in the days of the wind up mobile phones and I just couldn't get it to work, but hey they say its the thought that counts dont they.
Before long you were walking and earned the nickname 'Chicken Legs' not because you had thighs like a drumstick but because we couldn't work out how someone with such skinny legs was actually standing up. I remember the first time I took you into work to see the women I worked with. I spent ages dressing you up and making sure you looked your best. You were on your best behaviour right up until the moment you decided to fill your nappy in the middle of the office. You used to do this thing where you'd stare at someone as you did it, but if they looked at you you stopped. It was like you could turn it on and off. Your face would go blood red, the eyes would bore holes in your choice of victim and off you went. It was kinda weird if I'm honest. Anyway as the fragrant aroma of beans and bacon (your favourite food at the time from the Heinz Jars) filled the office. There I was with three other people, all meeting you for the first time, all quite prim and proper ladies, all looking at the ceiling all awkwardly awaiting the all clear to look at this child that had decided what a great time it was to have a shit. Cant wait till I'm in my 80's and incontinent to return the favour.
Do you remember when Nanny Carol used to bath you in her sink, I dont know why it was some weird ritual I think from when she was kid, anyway we all had to put up with it, all standing around watching you sitting in a sink, I mean after all this was the 2000's we had electricity and everything. Anyway you loved splashing around and making a mess. Oh how we laughed as the water flew everywhere around the kitchen.There was even that time when you had a dump in the sink splashed the water and managed to send it flying through the air, The sight of Nanny Carol freaking out trying to catch it will stay with me forever. Your Grandad even recorded it bless him, that video camera was never out of his hand, catching all of those special moments onto VHS, then watching as it was replaced by DVD's and no way of watching it.
Another favourite of your was the dreaded labels in clothes. No matter how small it was, if it touched your skin you went absolutely mental and we had to cut it out. We ended up spending more time looking to see if clothes had raised labels in them than we did to see what the clothes looked like on you. No one wanted to be responsible for the total metal that followed if it touched you.
Taking all that into account though (I'm saving some of them better ones for your 18th and Wedding day ) you have made me and your Mum very proud. You've grown up into a very kind, caring child who has seen some things I never dreamed or hoped you would see, times I haven't been there to protect you because I couldn't predict it was going to happen, who could? But I will do the things I have done again without a second thought to make sure that people don't push you around, take advantage of you or bully you. That you know that whatever the issues are, what ever problems arise you can come and talk to me about it. I may get the hump, thats my right as your parent, but I will always, always find a solution to solve the issue for you.
At 16 you are starting on another stage of your life, you are a wonderful daughter, granduaghter and sister, continue to be so, stay humble and kind skinny. I love you very much