The common denominator, when people speak of my relationship with my Dad, is that there is so much love.
Anyone who knows us both well, will know that whatever has come before and whatever will come after – we love the bones of each other.
No, he hasn’t always gotten it right. To err is human and to really balls things up is to be a parent. I should know because in I am a parent myself, several times over.
You try to get it right for your kids and inevitably, things won’t work out exactly how you planned it. This could honestly be said about anyone in any realm of life, not just the parenting sphere.
My Dad and I have not always seen eye to eye. In many ways, I am like him, although I think he disagrees. In that similarity, in whatever ways we are the same, he no doubt sees himself, whether that is good or bad.
He and I argue, disagree and often misunderstand each other – life is never always a bed of roses in any relationship, because realistically, it simply cannot be.
Growing up, my biggest fear was losing my Dad. He was an anchor, a waypoint, a lighthouse in the dark. He represented safety and happiness, things that I can’t say I had droves of as a kid. My Dad really was my hero and I have always looked up to him.
He said, during his father-of-the-bride speech, that I was witty, clever, funny and stubborn. Things I think I got from him.
He always has a knack with people, which is helpful as he is a driving instructor for a living. His Dad started a company, back in the early 1960’s, to loan cars and teach people to drive. Being from my family makes you an entrepreneur and aspirational by nature.
My Dad had served in the RAF for a couple of years or so and on leaving in his early 20’s, got a job in St Helens town centre. When one of my Granddad’s driving instructors became unavailable for a bit, my Dad was asked to step in short term.
He never left. He worked in partnership with his own Dad, until my Granddad passed away in 1988. He now continues, alone, teaching the good folk of St Helens to drive.
My Dad was on his 3 o’clock lesson when I was born. He used to nip into my Nan and Granddad’s house when he was working, to use the loo or have a break between lessons. It was just as his 3pm lesson came to an end that he found out that he had become a Dad for the second time, to a daughter.
I have always been proud of him and his values. One of my biggest fears as an adult, is ever disappointing him. I’m sure he sees the value in me and knows there are a million things to be proud of me for and he focuses on those, like any proud parent.
I like to think I have made him proud. I’ve survived and endured things in my 32 years of life that people in their 90’s haven’t seen half of. I’m not trying to play Top Trumps on who has and hasn’t had the shittier deal, more acknowledging I’ve had more than my fair share and, despite it and other things (like my crud-tastic health) I have come through it all. If I were him, I’d extremely shouting-from-the-roof-tops proud of me. I just hope he is.
Growing up, my Dad was my world and everything in it. A girls first love should always be her Dad and mine certainly was.
He was my first memory when I was tiny, sat on the beach in Blackpool, looking up into the white face of a massive Shire horse that was there, as the sun beat down.
My Dad asked me which horse I preferred, as there were a few standing together of varying sizes and breeds and I fearlessly pointed at the Shire horse. I was mesmerized by the mountainous, hulking size of the creature. I couldn’t believe how a horse could be so big.
I must have been about two years old, if that. I remember him scooping me up in his arms, laughing at my cute bravery. I looked over his shoulder at the horse as my Dad carried me away, holding onto my white sunhat, puzzled as to why it was funny that I liked the biggest horse there.
My Dad taught me to ride a bike, he taught me to drive, put me through my test at 18 (I passed 2nd time) and then got me my first car.
I didn’t appreciate any of that back then. How could I? I was a kid and had no idea what I had or how lucky I was.
When I dated a particularly odious creature when I was younger, my Dad would continually ask me if I’d dumped him yet. He loathed said odious creature in no uncertain terms. He had weighed him, measured him and not only found him wanting but utterly, incomprehensively not remotely good enough for his daughter.
I think my Dad wanted to take comfort in who I chose for a life-mate. He wanted to be secure in the knowledge that I was chucking my lot in with someone who was going to love me, look after me, have my best interests at heart and put me first. He wanted someone to look out for me and my concerns, to be there for me when it all went wrong and to love me when I wasn’t very lovable.
He wanted also someone who was deserving of my love, too. Someone who was good enough to enjoy my wit, personality, caring heart, silliness, generosity and talents. He wanted to make sure I was simply going to be okay.
Of course, I didn’t see that when I was young. It’s a cliché, the whole Dad-giving-the-boyfriend-a-hard-time thing. Now that I’m older, with daughters myself, I can understand why.
It is funny how you appreciate your parents more (or less) when your older and certainly when you have kids of your own.
He makes me proud every day and I hope that I make him proud too.
As he is my only parent living, it makes him a bit more precious now.
Happy father’s day, Daddy, I love you.
I loved you then, I love you still, I always have and I always will