I love my father. I love being a Dad. Becoming a father is the most incredible, most wonderful and – at times – most scary thing. My children impress me and amaze me. They inspire me and fill me with enthusiasm and optimism. Every day.
When I look at my own father I recognize who I am and where I have come from. The words Fathers Day conjure up immediate memories. Strong and vivid memories of us playing cricket in the summer and football in the winter. Of him standing by me when I was playing in goal. Encouraging and advising. Of him reading my chemistry homework and asking me what it all meant (I had no idea). Of him asking me what choices I wanted to make at school…what subjects I enjoyed. Of him standing by me when we bought our first car. And of him coming home from work early when I couldn’t start it the next day. Of him picking me up when I fell down. Of him being there for me.
He came to visit on the day each of our children were born. He was there for our marriage and their christening. He was there with his love. He has been to every house we have ever rented or bought…the day we moved in. With his tools and with his love.
He has been there for me. He is there for me. I am lucky. I am proud.
My dad was a scientist. He is still a scientist. My choices at school were all science. My choices since school have all been science…at least in terms of my career. My own children have made their own choices. They have not chosen science. They could have chosen science – they are both excellent at science. I don’t know if I encouraged them too well (to make their own choices)…or if I have just put them off science. But either way they delight and inspire me. Impress and amaze me.
I can see myself in them both. Just like I can hear my father in me. It’s like watching a home movie and listening to an audio recording. I am so like my father but I am so different. I have had such different experiences at such a different time. My father was a child during and after the war. I wasn’t. I was brought up by my father and my mother – he wasn’t.
My dad inspires me and I am so proud of him. Even though him and my mother are both now in their eighties, they are still active and still busy. They still look to experience new things and visit new places. They are less active and less engaged…still very active and still very engaged…but just in different things. And they are still there for me. My dad is there for me. When we talk he asks about my family, my work and my travel but most of all he asks about me. He offers advice. He offers encouragement. He listens. He is important to me.
Which as I think explains how I define being a dad. I want to be important to my children. Today, and tomorrow. Next week and next year….I want to be there for them. To encourage them when they need encouragement; to offer advice if they need advice. To hold their hand when they need a hand to hold. To love them. As they grow. As they experience. As they express themselves. And as they make their own choices in life. I want to be important to them.
I love my father. I love being a dad.