A Dad, a Father, is a funny thing. We all have a Dad, whether we know him or not. I know a few people who have never met their fathers and probably never will. What a peculiar situation to be in. To be half of someone you don’t even know.
My Dad is a great person for doing things. He does things. My Dad is, and I’ll be prepared to fight you over this, the wisest person I have ever met. I trust his advice implicitly on absolutely anything- if the boiler makes a funny noise, if an electric appliance starts to smoke, if I need advice on a financial or practical matters- I call my Dad. No doubts or questions in my mind, he’ll know the answer.
I don’t wish to make my Dad sound boring because he’s not. My Dad used to be a firefighter. Pretty cool, isn’t it? I know to everyone, hopefully, your Dad is a hero anyway, but my Dad actually is.
I’ve never been able to make sense of how he did the things he did. My Dad, I remember, was always there. He took me on bike rides. We hung a new cabinet in the bathroom together. He drove me faithfully to my dance lessons every Saturday over and over again, for years. I don’t recall him not being there for any birthday or Christmas. He was the primary breadwinner in our household (not through my Mum’s choice but rather through circumstance) and yet he was always there, to drive you somewhere, to make you sausages for breakfast. It’s nothing short of outstanding how he did all the things he did.
He’s quite astonishingly green fingered. His garden is and always has been beautiful. The cat preferred to sit on him because he could sit for hours reading the paper, glasses never quite perched on his ears. He has a huge dent in his collarbone because he broke his collarbone and it healed funny. His little finger on one hand is bent because he broke that too. He’s so like his own father, it’s a little scary. I will never forget the image of him and his dad stood in the garden of my grandparents neat little bungalow, spade in hand, looking at the vegetable patch.
He doesn’t know anything about music, as in literally nothing, which is amusing for someone who lives with someone as music obsessed as my Mum. His handwriting is absolutely stunning- the beautiful flowing italic script they don’t teach in schools any more. He’s fiercely bright and his successes in work are testimony to that. When he retired from the Fire Service, many people came to tell me how highly they thought of my Dad- let me tell you, they were not lying. It’s a sign of the type of man I think, when they are so highly regarded.
We give Mothers a lot of love for the rearing of children, and so we should. They do the effort of carrying and giving birth to the child, but I think it’s only fair we give the credit to Fathers that they deserve. My Dad was kind and giving with his time and his love for his children, and he continues now as I am an adult to be generous and thoughtful, to celebrate your successes and commiserate when things don’t go well. He’s a fantastic person to have in a crisis because he’s so entirely unflappable, and a brilliant person to talk to if you’re down, because he’ll have a few words of wisdom and a funny story, and you’ll feel absolutely fine.
I know it’s a bit cliché, to be a little girl and to think your Dad is so amazing, but I really did, and I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of that. He is one of my most favourite people on the planet, and nothing will ever change that. I owe him more than words can ever say, a difficult position for a writer. Just like I said when I wrote about my Mum, let’s all take a minute to remember our Fathers, with us and gone, and thank them for their love. I cannot say what I would have done without my Dad.
There goes my hero, watch him as he goes.