Today is my Dad’s birthday. He sent me an email the day yesterday, with the subject line saying “Last Day Blues” which went on to talk about how “old” 48 was. I love my dad dearly and he is many things, but old he is not. I hope he’s reading this, where at the end of the day there might copious amounts of comments telling him how NOT old 48 is.
My dad has always been number one in my life. I remember growing up laughing out loud at all the things he’d say, proud to have such clever and witty genes, hoping that one day, I’d be as well-spoken, fun and entertaining as he was. We’d go on trips around Europe, he and I basking in the sun by a cool swimming pool, each eating Calippos and drinking Fanta. One of my more vivid memories is of him sellotaped to a lilo (I don’t know what you call them in north America!) and being thrown in at the deep end, laughing so hard I cried.
I remember my first “work experience” at school – I must’ve been about eleven, and I went with him to British Aerospace. I learned about planes and missiles and all sorts of things eleven year old girls don’t understand at all, but felt incredibly grown up following him around, proud to be introduced as his daughter as everyone greeted us with an enormous smile. There was always a feeling of respect and appreciation from people around my dad. You could tell they admired him, and that he made working there fun.
I remember Christmases with my dad, helping him cook in the kitchen as he taught me what a sweetcorn fritter was and how they were a staple of holiday dinners. I remember his patience as well as his jokes as he tried to help a hopeless girl understand the concept of trigonometry. I remember his words of advice and encouragement when I decided to move out for the first time, and his support every time I’ve ever moved. Which, in the last five or six years, has been more than a fair bit.
I remember when my parents separated, that instead of driving us apart, it brought us closer. I broke up with a long-term boyfriend that same November, and I remember sitting on my makeshift couch in a half-empty apartment on Christmas Day with my Dad, eating packet mashed potatoes and microwave turkey, there for each other in our hours of need. He came with me to see the “most unfestive movie we could think of” afterward, too.
We’ve shared everything over the years, the most recent of which have brought us closer than ever. He was there through my breakup from hell, standing up for me to some absolutely awful people, and avenging my ex in a rather… unbloggable, but downright hilarious way! He visited my nan (his mum) in her hour of need this year, bringing together a family that hadn’t spoken in years, which was nothing short of miraculous. He came back with all sorts of old photographs and stories, nic nacs from aeons ago, reminding me always that what’s happened in the past doesn’t necessarily have to dictate the future. That sometimes, there are more important things in life. He continues to inspire me to this day.
Happy birthday to my wonderful Dad, my best friend in the whole world. Someone who unconditionally sees the best in people, in situations, and in other people’s intentions. Someone who planted the seeds for a lifelong love of music, who still makes mix CDs for me and cranks up the ones I make for him. Someone who shed a tear when I got my Gaelic tattoo translating to “my father’s daughter”. Someone who got me up at the crack of dawn on my birthday two years ago and took me on a surprise trip around Paris. Who put me on a surprise jet plane for my birthday last year. Someone who’s always encouraged me to follow my dreams and to do the right thing, even if sometimes those things are the most difficult. Happy birthday to the man I couldn’t be prouder to call Dad. I love you.