It is Father’s Day today. And I miss my dad.
Becoming a father was the most incredible, most wonderful and – at times – most scary thing ever. My children impress me and amaze me. They inspire me and fill me with enthusiasm and optimism. On Father’s Day. Every day.
When I think about my dad, I recognize who I am and where I came from. The words Father’s Day conjure up strong and vivid memories. Of him picking me up when I fell down. Of us playing cricket in the summer and soccer in the winter. Of him standing by me when I was playing. Encouraging and advising. Of him reading my chemistry homework and asking me what I thought it meant (I had no idea). Of him asking me what choices I was going to make at school…and enquiring which subjects I enjoyed most. Of him standing next to me when we bought our first car. And of him coming home from work early when I couldn’t make it start the next day. Of him being there for me. Always. Just not now…not anymore.
He came to visit on the day each of our children were born. He was there for our marriage and both of their christenings. He was there with his love. He came to every house we ever rented or bought…the day we moved in. With his love and with his bag of tools.
He was there for me. I am lucky. I am proud. And I remember.
My dad was a scientist. My choices at school were all science. My choices since school have all been science. My own children have made their own choices and 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 just put them off science. Either way they delight and inspire me. Impress and amaze me. My father – their grandfather – loved them so much…as they did him.
I can see my dad – and myself – in them both and in me. It’s like watching a home movie and listening to an audio recording. I know I am so like my father but yet I am also 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.
Even though my dad and mum both passed away this Spring, I still think about them…and wonder what they would do…or what they would say. I love them both just as much. I miss them both so much. In many ways it’s as if they are still there for me…it’s just that they aren’t.
I used to talk to my dad about family, work and travel, about rugby and about me. I miss his advice. His encouragement. Him listening. I miss him. On Father’s Day. Every day.
But I know he taught me what it means to be a dad. To be important to my children. Today, and tomorrow. Next week and next year….to be there for them. To love them unconditionally. 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. 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 being a father. I love my father. I miss my dad.