I have been shit at Father’s Day for a long time. (Forever.) Because it’s a made-up thing I decided years ago that I would not celebrate it and my Dad has never seemed to mind very much.
On Sunday, Facebook was covered in photos of peoples’ Dads. I laughed: ho ho ho, my Dad would hate to have me rabbiting on about him on social media. Ho ho ho, look how we rise about this commercial nonsense!
And then I saw a post by a friend of mine who lost her Dad to cancer ten years ago – I remember it well; I went to the funeral with her – and before I knew it, I was in tears. (If my Dad does ever read this, he will at this point shake his head despairingly. He’s been watching me burst into tears on a very regular basis for thirty four years now.) I imagined how I’d feel if I lost my wonderful precious Daddy and how deeply I’d regret failing to take ANY opportunity – commercial or otherwise – to tell him how much I love him.
So today’s blog is all about my DAD.
Daddy, you are the bestest. You are a bearded Irish legend who says ‘vayse’ instead of ‘vase’ and you own about two thousand more books than your house can actually hold. You have a penchant for strange or downright shit cars (I’m thinking the Frog, the Carolla and your latest, um, ‘special’ car.) You cannot and will not sing or dance and I love that you are completely uncompromising in your refusal to indulge in either.
You are the most extraordinarily clever person I have ever known and I am awed by your ability to talk about pretty much anything – ANY SUBJECT IN THE WORLD – without having to go and look it up on Wikipedia like I’d have to. You are a human library; a humongously intelligent and learned man – and yet you’re so humble. If I knew even a fraction of what you knew I’d be shouting clever facts at anyone who’d listen. You just carry on reading the paper.
You made up the best stories any child could hope for – Bernard the Boneheaded Crocodile was a modern classic, but they were all wonderful – and when Mummy went to university again you even managed to become a brilliant (if not unusual) househusband. Me and the sister still talk reverentially about Fried Willies.
You have the ability to make all of us roar with laughter. I love listening to you having conversations with animals, and I love that Grouse – indeed all of our dogs – have always loved you far more than they’ve ever loved the rest of us. I loved that you used to throw Dudley out of the window when he stole our dinner. I love the stories of Granddad and of Ireland in general. That garage door. Jesus Christ.
I love that when I was naughty you used to tell me – in that wonderful Irish accent – that I was being ‘bold,’ and that you always reasoned with me – you never shouted. I loved it when you put me and the sister on your knee and gave us a horse ride, saying ‘ding-de-ding-de-ding’ (this is the closest you have ever got to singing.) I loved you taking us swimming in Cirencester the holidays, and drove us to horse events in various borrowed trailers (even though you didn’t really understand horses) and spent hours standing in the sea at Tresaith beach holding our inflatable boat on a long rope so we wouldn’t float off across the Irish Sea. I loved being picked up from ballet in a noisy ex-army landrover while everyone else tootled off in polite little renault 5s. I loved it when you took us up to the common to walk William and bought us Winston’s Ice Creams.
I love that, while me and the Mothership say pretty much everything that’s on our minds, you think carefully about things and say them only when they really matter. When I want to Carla’s wedding in 2011 I came downstairs and you told me I looked beautiful. I’m afraid I then went off and cried, as usual, but that’s because you don’t fritter compliments the way I do and it meant the world.
I love you so much, Daddy, and I wish I told you more often. You’re probably really embarrassed by now, but I don’t care. You are the best.