As another Fathers Day looms I find myself considering what fatherhood means to me so, here are afew of my views of the dads in my life…
I think that more often than not, Dads don’t get enough recognition, they are described as disposable, often made to feel like they are less important than the mums but I think that often they are the ones doing the behind the scenes, unglamorous jobs like:
1) Chasing a poo around the bath with a sieve before it totally breaks up and requires marigolds and more Cif than is safe in a confined space.
2) Buying a roof rack, not for the ski trip of a life time but for a slog down the M6 which will be punctuated with milk stops, sick stops and ear bleed inducing wailing.
3) Watching their partner expand to the size of a whale and then see them push something the size of a melon out of a hole which was considerably smaller to begin with. And then when they look something like a sad deflated (knackered) balloon they are tasked with reassuring this emotional wreck of a human that they love them all the same.
4) The late night run to the supermarket because the wife who is actually at home most of the time and does actually pass a shop daily, forgot to get more milk/bread/anythingthatyoumightneedtopreventatotalbedtimemeltdown.
It has to be said that also they can also often be found sitting on their asses watching final score but that is a post for another day!
My own lovely dad passed away very suddenly on 3rd November 1987. I was 7 and my sister was 8. It was totally out of the blue and our family was never, ever the same again. I remember that night vividly and still occasionally wake up crying. (Heart attack incase you are wondering). My life has probably turned out entirely differently than it would have if my dad had still been alive. Hey ho.
I think it is fair to assume that I have placed my dad (and my views on marriage and fatherhood) on a pedestal. It is because I don’t recall my dad making any mistakes, I don’t recall any rows between my parents and don’t recall ever feeling anything but loved. Pretty special.
Obviously that is a child’s extremely rose tinted view on how things were but I am not interested on hearing the alternative. I feel that I (and I hope my sister feels the same) was incredibly lucky and I wish those same feelings for our own two babies.
So, beyond the age of 7 I never witnessed the realities of life in a very traditional 2.4 children family, with parental rows, dad tellings off, dad vetting boys at the doorstep and the specific type of mess and baggage that you get as you grow up in a traditional family.
It sometimes feels as though my own experience of family has made things impossibly difficult for me in the future because I grew up with a mum doing the job of a mum and dad. She didn’t have to compromise or discuss discipline with anyone but she didn’t have anyone to turn to and say
look what we made, aren’t they amazing
OR, particularly during the tough teenage years (for me I’d say between 13- 25)
What in Gods name can we try now, she is driving me up the wall.
It must have been beyond tough and I am so sorry that she had to go through that but, my blueprint for parenting comes from this and, as a result, I am a difficult, uncompromising and independent woman that is often a pain in the ass to live with. My expectations of a father figure are at best rose tinted and at worst totally unrealistic and therefore totally unattainable. I am getting my head around this! And I can only apologise to my husband. (Apols Leary).
My memories of my daddy are pretty few and some are mere snapshots, possibly even imagined memories from the photos I have seen. I recall snuggling in his lap whilst he watched American Football (in the good old days when it was on channel 4), I remember him ‘tidying up’ my ice cream in Parkgate and I remember him teaching me to ride my bike.
It is absolutely possible that these activities were carried out following the same sort of hushed conversations about killing an hour before bath time, avoiding the witching hour and other such ‘chats’ that the Leary and I have most weekends but it matters not. I missed him dreadfully when he died and I still miss him today.
I was 16 when I had my hair cut short for the first time and I cried myself to sleep worried that he wouldn’t recognise me when I got to heaven (another optimistic idea thinking that I’d be knocking on the pearly gates at some point…far more likely to be heading for eternal damnation but at least I’ll be warm)
When I went to uni I worried about my mum being on her own and at every family gathering there is a dad shaped hole.
I am so sad that he never met Mr L, I am sure they would have really hit it off and the fact that we have two girls that he will never meet breaks my heart but it is what it is.
I like to think that he sees what we’re up to from a good vantage point :-)
I know that I am not a special case. Everyone has their own baggage and stories to tell (or keep to themselves if they are less mouthy than me!) but, if you have a dad, someone that is like a dad or anyone that has been a special part of your life, let them know. You never know the moment. There is a very poignant blog here which is worth a read.
I think our own Mr L is doing a fab job. I absolutely love overhearing him talking to the girls or watching him playing when he doesn’t know I am there (sometimes the girls aren’t there either and it is just him and the little pink kitchen!)
It is so obvious that he adores them and it makes me love him even more (sick bags available at the end of this post).
I know it doesn’t always come across that way because it can be tough to be your happy go lucky, sunny dispositioned self when you are;
*crying with exhaustion or frustration or a mixture of the two.
*shouting a request for a nappy/wipe/towel/vat of wine (delete as applicable) over a cacophony of crying.
*trying to go to the toilet whilst simultaneously carrying a baby and dragging a toddler that is hugging your leg.
*talking through gritted teeth in the pitch dark about why someone did or didn’t do something which they may or may not have said they’d do.
*a total physical and emotional train wreck.
That’s all I wanted to say really. Dads are pretty special.
Happy Fathers Day dudes.
PS– This totes emosh post is in place of any fathers out there actually getting their wish of:
– A lie in with tea and the papers in bed and possibly a cheeky hand job ;-)
– A bike ride sans baby seat
– An opportunity to watch a programme of their own choice from start to finish instead of In The Night Garden.
PPS– If you go out for a Fathers Day lunch remember that you will have to take the kids and also, you will have to pick up the bill (remember that I’m not ‘working’ at the moment).
You can’t have it all hey.