My dad’s job took him all over the world, often for months at a time (this was 30+ years ago, long before the advent of Skype & even email). I remember him sending me letters when we were apart, with the most amazing drawings on every envelope. Cape Town, Gibraltar, Venezuela…they all came alive in black ink on those old-fashioned blue & red striped Air Mail envelopes. He gave me the world, one sketch at a time. When we travelled with him, we were encouraged to talk to people, try different foods, explore! I learnt so much from him, from how an engine works to reading a map, reading the night sky to learning to ride a bike, and then later, to drive a car. He invented the ‘indoor picnic’ for us, in our tiny apartment, balancing an old door on some books for a picnic table. He created a Cleopatra costume for me when I was ten, including the headdress, the make-up, the works! There was never a second where I felt like he thought I couldn’t be whatever I set my mind to be.
Listening to my daughter talk about her father, I realise I picked someone incredibly similar to my dad. “Dada has a great sense of humour, supports me in tricky situations, takes me on adventures, teaches me to play football (soccer), buys me lots of books and taught me how to take the Tube”, says K. He also chases her about, lets her fall, flings her in the air – all the things that make me shriek! He believes in her. He listens to her. He makes her feel valued, and has given her enough respect for her to expect no less from anyone else. What priceless gifts!
As wonderful as these two men are, they would probably both agree that their intro to fatherhood was similar to Phillip Toledano’s in this hilarious & heart-warming ‘Confessions of a Reluctant Father: How I Learned to Love my Daughter‘. Laugh out loud and enjoy.
And if you love your dad/step-dad/father-person, let him know. Today.
Image from Pixabay