I don’t often talk about my dad. But there are times when talking is required. As we approach Father’s Day, I wanted to let him, and you know, what I think of him.
When I was growing up, dad was a man of few words. He was a thinker. He considered carefully what he was going to say, and the impact it would have. Quite the opposite to me in many ways, where my words spill out unashamedly before my brain is fully engaged, quick to fill a silence, or a pause in a group conversation.
When he spoke, you listened. Although at this point, he would probably disagree. Particularly in my teenage years. What can I say dad? Hormones, that’s my excuse anyway! It’s all about perspective, each person’s viewpoint will be different.
He was full of knowledge, of advice, of what I considered useless information then! He’d gathered facts, information, his own version of QI, and stored them all away in his brain’s filing cabinet, ready to be reproduced when required. To me, he appeared to know everything, and was fabulous at geography, history and English. When I was little, he taught me how to ride a bike. He grew strawberries on our garage roof and we were allowed to climb the ladder to see them! He taught me how to canoe, to work out if the tide was coming in our out, taught me the history of world wars, names of cars, introduced me to jazz, the Beatles, Dr Hook, Billy Connolly and The Life of Brian. When I was little, Friday was ‘love day’ because dad worked away during the week, and Friday was the day he came home. I didn’t truly appreciate then that he did all that for us. Now I’m a parent, I see things very differently.
He also taught me patience. Trust. Self belief. Resilience. And humour. And not to sweat the small stuff. The trust that things will work out. He has the patience and quiet strength needed in a dad. He is a fabulous host, and his laughter is infectious, loud and authentic!
Patience – in abundance! Definitely required when I was a teenager. Suffice to say, discovering boys, the young farmers club and alcohol all round about the same time, led to some interesting moments! Mum and dad definitely had their work cut out then! I’m so pleased facebook wasn’t around in those days!
I was lucky enough to have a horse when I was younger, who I loved with all my heart and when I went to uni, I was devastated to have to sell him. But when we bought him, he was occasionally a handful. I was a relatively inexperienced rider and he was a 5 year old anglo arab, and had many bouts of napping. To those of you unfamiliar to this common horsey trait, it isn’t sleeping! It means when you want to go on a nice ride, they will refuse to go forwards, will make it extremely difficult, but if you turn round and head for home, will trot happily in that direction. Not quite what I’d envisaged. Dad came to my rescue. He spent many, many rides leading, pulling, cajoling him forwards, often a long way, until Trikker my horse got so fed up with this routine, he worked out he may as well just go on! Thank you dad.
Dad taught me to drive, and I have no doubt this facilitated some grey hairs, particularly as I had 2 worrying traits. If I drove at night, I was strangely drawn to lights of oncoming traffic, and when pulling out of junctions, I’d often forget to straighten up. Then I had the audacity to shout at dad if he got hold of the wheel and corrected me!
Dad hasn’t liked all my boyfriends – I’m sure no surprise there! Which dad does?! But I know he approves of Mark, and they have the best relationship built on mutual trust, similar sense of humour, and similar prosecco drinking capabilities!
When Mark and I got married and I was standing outside my family home waiting for my mums’ and bridesmaids car to return, dad and I were alone. I was anticipating a quiet few words of advice, but in reality – there was a gust of wind, my veil blew up and into the hedge – and that day I found out that dad’s veil unpicking skills from a prickly hedge are very impressive! Thanks dad.
Dad has been there every step of the way, through uni, through flat hunting and providing, my first job interview, through our first house purchase, our wedding, IVF, premature baby, our house purchase in Durham. And losing my mum, his wife. Almost ten years ago. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure. Harder too to watch your dad go through it. But you do, you ride the storm, some days are harder than others. But I can tell you something though. Dad and I have a better relationship than ever now. I know him better. I talk to him more. I spend more time with him and Pam, his amazing wife, my lovely step mum. Life gets better. We fill it, and quite rightly so.
Thank you dad. I love you. I appreciate you and everything you do. I know the volume from our 4 children makes you feel like you’ve gone deaf when we leave, but they love you and Pam to bits. I know I drive you crackers sometimes, but isn’t that a daughter’s job?! Happy Fathers Day!
Happy Fathers day dad and to all those dads for who they are and all they do. And a moment to pause and think about those dads who are no longer with us, dads who may be grieving at those fellas who longed to be dads or who chose not to be a dad. We see you. We hear you. We think you’re amazing.
Many thanks for taking the time to read my waffle! I really appreciate it.
Vicky Smith x