There comes a time in every father's life when they graduate from the apple of their daughter's eye to the embarrassing, stereotypical daggy dad.
You start out in your first-born daughter's life as someone who they look up to.
Then they edge close to the teenage years and you can see the change happening before your eyes as your daughter sees you more as a cringe-worthy, uncool adult who thinks Tik Tok is a small mint which you put in your mouth.
You are nothing more than a source of embarrassment.
Alas, as the daggy dad, you only have one clear choice: Live up to that stereotype. Rejoice in looking for opportunities to see your daughter give you that "OMG What-did-that-idiot-just-do-or-say look".
A few weeks back as COVID and home isolation hit us, I offered my darling daughter, a student at Corpus Christi, a chance to write this column and she torched me mercilessly.
So, when school went back for the first time this week, I decided it was time for the daggy dad to take his paybacks at school pick up time.
I parked my car in the side street as usual for pick up, but I picked up my phone and the text "convo" (that's a hip kid word for conversation) went something like this _
ME: Mum made me park on the side of the road.
ME: I can come and get you though. I got no shoes on. *smiley emoji
HER: Dad don't come and get me I'll come to you.
ME (seconds later): No I'm in there now. I've got no shoes on though ....
ME: And I'm wearing track pants ....
ME: And a Hawks singlet ....
HER: Dad stay in the car.
HER: Because plz just do it.
ME: Just talking to some of the Year 12s.
ME: They like my track pants.
HER: Dad stop.
Naturally I hadn't left the car and she let out a visible sigh of relief when she rounded the corner and saw me safely sitting still inside the vehicle.
Just to make sure I still held the upper hand though I did beep the horn. Twice.
Daggy dad evens the score at 1-1.
Julian O'Brien is the editor of the Illawarra Mercury