'Nemo is quite likely long dead and his great-great-great-grandchildren doing school projects about him'

Columnist Steve Royle gets all nostalgic about the birth of his daughter 16 years and looks at how things have changed.
Steve RoyleSteve Royle
Steve Royle

My eldest daughter turned 16 last weekend. It’s a cliché, but they grow up so fast.

It doesn’t seem like two minutes ago that I was chasing an ambulance containing my wife and unborn child up the M6 from Chorley to Sharoe Green after various methods of inducement had failed.

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It was snowing that night in 2003, and I announced to the world that I had become a dad by writing the news in the snow on my front lawn.

Those were the days before Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, folks.

If people liked my news they had to make a concerted effort to tell me, they couldn’t just click a button.

Congratulations came in the form of a card or letter, not on a social media post.

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The big film of 2003 was Finding Nemo, and I’ve just looked at the average life span of a clown fish (three to six years).

That means Nemo is quite likely long dead and his great-great-great-grandchildren doing school projects about him and his amazing survival story.

My daughter’s rapid growth has been echoed by technology.

Televisions have got thinner, while we all seem to get fatter.

Channels have multiplied quicker than fruit flies in a school science lab.

Mobile phones got smaller then got bigger again.

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If you were ‘smart’ in 2003 you looked well groomed, these days it means your house has Wi-Fi to the max. Being ‘sick’ was a bad thing and ‘hash tags’ were the remnants of illegal cigarettes.

The worst thing about having a 16-year-old child, however, is that she looks at me in the same way I used to look at my mum and dad.

I know what that look means, it means she can’t believe how stupid and uncool I am. (Even using the word ‘uncool’ is probably uncool these days?)

What she doesn’t realise is that I remember being 16.

To her that is literally a lifetime ago (eh, kids look how I used the word ‘literally’ correctly). All I could think about when I was 16 was the opposite sex.

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Now my daughter is 16 I hope beyond all reason that young men have changed as much as technology.

Girls at 16 are very different to lads, all they can think about is make-up and cream.

My wife has obsessions with these commodities, too, but for contrasting reasons.

My daughter wears make-up to look older, my wife wears make-up to appear younger.

I wear make-up for pantomime.

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Nobody knows what will happen in the next 16 years of her life.

Will we have left Europe by then?

Will we be back in Europe by then?

Will there even be a Europe?

Will the word ‘Brexit’ finally be forgotten?

Will Gemma Collins have learnt to ice skate?

The only thing I can guarantee is that I’ll still love that little baby that changed my life forever in 2003.

Thank you, Daisy, and thank you my wife.