Do you feel that you are a taxi service for your off-spring?
If you are fortunate, or unfortunate as the case may, to be a parent then you will know that it is a life changing experience.
It has its good points and its bad points, but one thing is certain, life is never dull. There are the nights of broken sleep, the trips to the doctor's and the hospital, and the tantrums. The joy of the baby's first smile in response to the stupid noises and faces you're making, and when they grow into teenagers the lack of response you get to, in your mind, a reasonable question, because they still think you're making stupid noises and faces!
But life gets better as they mature, you can have sensible chats with them, they turn to you for comfort during their low times, and sometimes even ask for your advice.
But it wasn't until the other day that I realised, (I really am quick on the uptake you know), that from the day our children were born my wife and I acquired an extra unpaid job. That of 'Taxi Driver'.
There were the trips to the hospital, doctor's, grandparents, playschool, infant and junior school, Brownies, dancing classes, school plays, Brownie bingo and bring and buy, Christmas services and Sunday school plays, friends parties, friends to and from wherever. At secondary school level there were the after school clubs, French exchange, which also meant showing off the Norfolk countryside and picnics, (usually in the rain, 'ze crazy English!'), where was I, oh yes badminton clubs, Duke of Edinburgh challenges etc. etc.
Then of course we're into the teenage parties, which is a whole new ball game. 'You can drop me off here Dad, I can walk this bit', or 'I'm meeting so and so on this corner'. All of which means that they don't want to be seen with their parent too close to the party site. There is then several hours to kill while they are having a whale of a time and you have to decide whether it is worth while going all the way home, going to the pub, (not really an option as you've got to drive again), or sitting in the car with a good book. Fortunately most of our girls' parties were not too far away so we managed to go home in between. The trouble then was, if the party was a late one, we would be waiting for a phone call to say, 'you can pick me up now', probably just as I was nodding off to sleep!
For the final part of their education we come to the university. I had never realised there were so many in this country, and guess what, it seems like we have been to see them all over the years with our three children. Chelmsford, Northampton, Nottingham, Loughborough, Bradford, Manchester, Edinburgh, Exeter, Cardiff, Sheffield. Not one of them fancied Barbados which I thought was a shame.
Having chosen the place of learning, all the goods and chattels, (not forgetting the tape and CD player), had to be transported to halls of residence. In the second year moving from halls of residence into shared accommodation, and finally, from shared accommodation to home or a residence near to the new job.
Just recently the baby of the family completed her finals and we moved all her belongings from Sheffield back home while she went to various job interviews. Yes you're right, I took her to some of those as well. The good news is she has got a job; the bad news, it's in Sheffield. So we've got to load everything up again and take it back again!!
So as I said before, I got to thinking about this taxi job and I reckon if you're anything like us we have ferried our children at least once around the world over the years they have been with us, and no doubt there will be more miles to travel before we're done, all for 'No Charge'.
But I for one wouldn't change it at all. They have repaid us many times over with their love, and achievements in life. So when the call comes, 'Dad taxi please', I'll be there.