Roll on 2027 when I get my life back

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I’ve lost something and I’d appreciate it if you could help me find it. I’m even thinking of making a sign. You know the ones – you see them taped to a lamppost with the word ‘lost’ written at the top in big, bold letters to catch your attention.

Normally these signs feature a photograph of a dog or a cat.

There’s always a telephone number to call, so if you spot the much-loved missing pet you can reunite it with the owner.

However, my sign will be radically different to the ones you might usually see as my dog Ralph, thankfully, is not missing at all.

For on my sign in place of a dog or cat will be a photo of me.

In it I’d probably be wearing my favourite going-out shirt and the new pair of shoes I was given for Christmas that have not yet made contact with my feet, let alone seen the outside world.

In my hand will be a pint glass containing some ice cold lager and, having taken a satisfying gulp, some foam from the lager head will have left a comedy moustache right across my top lip.

For the thing that I seem to have lost is... my social life.

A few years ago the biggest decision I had to make was which genre of film to watch at the local cinema.

And Sunday nights used to be pub night with my mates.

In one particular pub I felt like a character in EastEnders walking into the Queen Vic.

When I arrived at the bar and declared ‘usual please’, they’d know exactly which drink I’d be talking about.

But as the years have passed since becoming a dad, socialising has slowly ground to a halt.

Maybe it’s because my friends have finally got tired of my not-funny jokes (surely not true), but I’m leaning towards another reason; children.

It is very true that before they arrived I didn’t understand how much time and energy they take from you.

It starts from the very moment they wake up with bagfuls of energy right up until the moment they go to bed.

Of course I don’t mean this in a negative way, for they are amazing and fun to be around and becoming a dad is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

But it has dawned on me that from now on in, things are only going to get busier.

Caitlin starts school in September. This, I am certain, will include after-school clubs and invitations to many birthday parties and of course this is where the daddy taxi service comes in to play.

I’m quite happy with the way fatherhood has changed my life, but I am really looking forward to my next night out.

That will be in 2027... when Caitlin will be 18.