What is life all about? When all the words have been spoken and the dust has settled, what is there left? I am sorry but after we have measured our dreams and ticked the inventory of our experiences and achievements, what it all boils down to is reproduction. Like other creatures and the entire plant world, that is ultimately why we are here - to ensure the continuity of our species. Dear Reader - you had a mother and a father. Through their parenting you became part of the human chain - a link connected with the past. By having children ourselves we continue that linkage and send part of ourselves into a future where we may not travel.The photo above was taken in September 1988 by Shirley's mum at the Nether Edge Maternity Hospital in Sheffield. It's a much younger me and Shirley with our little son Ian and our newly born daughter, Frances. My face is full of joy - not because a hairy caterpillar is crawling across my upper lip - but because I recognise the wondrous nature of this moment that the camera is about to capture. It's why I came into the world. It's the very meaning of life - nothing to do with God or splitting the atom, emulating Shakespeare or painting a masterpiece - but this - a man, a woman, a son and a daughter - a family. Our passport to the future, our living acknowledgement of the past. To be so blessed is something beyond the scope of words. And the woman who pressed the button is herself now gone beyond this earthly life but part of her remains.