Today’s blog is a Father’s Day blog, which has proven to be hard to write as I have been asked to write about my father.
For me it is strange because relationships with parents change and grow, and I spent a lot of time thinking about which bit of a continuing and evolving relationship I want to talk about.
My mum left my dad in the early 70’s and he was left with two young boys aged six and four-ish, he had to downsize his house and be both father and mother. An act well supported by my paternal grandmother, she became the rock on which the family found its new feet. He was in his late twenties and in the North West at the time he ended up as one of ‘Maggies millions’, spending seven years on the dole. I remember dad struggling to cope with no money, a young family, and if we are honest under today’s system, would have seen the children taken into care. Even though we didn’t have many things, we never lacked love and a sense that we belonged.
I have positive and negative memories about him. As I grew up, I recall the things he gave me from a love of Judo, to a strong will and stubbiness that makes us a family of survivors.Regardless of this, I got a sense of belonging, a feeling that I was part of a bigger family and a bigger history than just me and my dad. Traditions that included his father, and his father’s father gave me a sense that as I grew older, the family gene pool will live on through me. This idea of family, and that a family is not always traditional, it isn’t just about relatives, it is about a core set of values and morals that you share. My dad taught me that values are not things you talk about and pontificate; they are things you live out and by. My dad has lived and loved and has given me the belief I can do whatever I want with hard work, a value my brother and sister share. Our family use to be me and my brother, then in his forties, my dad had another child, my eighteen year old junior sister. Then we became six as my dad treated my sister’s half brothers and sisters in the same way, and now they are family. This ability to adapt and accept is one I admire in him, but is one at times that isn’t easy to accept as I have seen this second generation able to enjoy a little more because of where my dad is at in his life journey now, some of the things I wish I could have enjoyed, but it was a different time and circumstance.
Father son relationships are not easy, and as the eldest child, sometimes you are the one who feels the pressure to support and make things works. You are the first to make the mistakes the other siblings learn from, and sometimes you are the one, a parent will make the mistakes with.
It scares me when people say I am just like my dad or my son is just like me, because sometimes I worry about the bits I don’t like or find irritating, the annoying and frustrating mannerisms or behaviours, but we forget the bits we love, the things we admire, the bits that we will cherish forever.
My dad is a diamond. He has many facets and can shine brightly, but with his several flaws. So do the flaws devalue the diamond or make it special and unique? I don’t know, but I know I accept the flaws because they make him the man he is and he has made me the man I am, and in turn will help make my son into the man he will become. And on Sunday I know I will love him just as much as I did as a four year old. Regardless of the changes in my life, he has always been a constant, the voice of reason and the devilish imp always ensuring I make informed choices for the right reasons.
He might not say it, but I hope I make him proud as I walk through life, in my achievement, my successes and some of my failures, but if I am happy no matter the circumstance, I know he will be happy too.
Thank you for everything dad, and thank you for shaping me into what and who I am today.
Happy Father Day!!
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