If done properly, life should be all about experiences - it really isn’t rocket science, unless you decide to become a rocket scientist of course.
There are landmark moments for all of us and we tend to remember these very clearly: I remember my first match, a Boxing Day ‘treat’ at Fratton Park, I will never forget my first pint - a flat pint of ‘best’ at one of Stockport less salubrious watering holes and will certainly never forget my first kiss - although I am pretty sure the unlucky lass has pushed that moment into the darkest recesses of her mind.
Those memories, good or bad are worth cherishing which is why, as a parent, I spend a large amount of my family time trying make sure that my young charges build up an impressive back catalogue of special experiences.
Sometimes I am guilty of trying too hard: my eldest attended her first match aged just three years old on a miserably cold afternoon in Bury and I swear that I heard the female stewards tut when I carried the poor little devil into the ground. Thankfully, she has no memory of that dreadful day - a truly appalling 2-0 defeat. One of the real pluses of being born into the digital age is that our children have a ready made archive of all the best bits of their lives either on a disc, hard drive, the Facebook gallery or a cloud somewhere. They will never know the agony of photo albums, the faux leather jobs which tended to fall apart after five years in the loft.
The toe curling embarrassment of your mother showing girlfriends holiday snaps of you in a Rainbow t-shirt and nothing much else while digging a trench on the beach at Ilfracombe was very real. This is unlikely to be the case for a generation who have been brought up on the fact that most aspects of their lives are shared with the world and his wife.
Last week my first born had an experience which I am pretty certain she will remember until she is playing gin rummy in her rocking chair, some time in the 22nd Century: her first pop concert. The problem with eight-year-olds is that they don’t always share the same musical tastes as their parents and mine has a particular obsession with Ed Sheeran.
We headed off to Wembley on a school night to watch an incredibly amiable chap with a guitar hold a sellout crowd of 85,000 in the palm of his hand.
Not only was it a coming of age moment for my daughter but it was also a landmark moment for me because it was the first time I properly felt like a middle-aged dad.
Not only did I leave the people carrier in the eye wateringly expensive, yet incredibly convenient car park but I danced a dad gig when I realised our seats, on the very back row, came with a makeshift shelf, somewhere to put our overpriced hot dogs, popcorn, donuts and sweets.
There was also a very telling moment when, during a track in which he sang about breaking his leg aged six, that I remembered to put the bins out. But it was a great night made better when the lucky girl said ‘Dad, that was the best night of my life.’
A memory to last a lifetime.