Yesterday, as it was Father’s Day, my social media timelines were filled with people talking about their dads. From happy memories, family photos and funny anecdotes, it was lovely to see so many people celebrating their relationships with their dads. One thing that struck me this year though, was how many of my friends were finding the day hard. Those who have never known their fathers, or never had a positive male influence in their lives. Those who have lost their dad and were facing the day without the man who raised them.
It makes me all the more grateful for the two amazing men in my life.
They say that a father is a little girl’s first love, her first superhero and her first friend, and that was true for me. When I was growing up I thought my dad was the most wonderful man in the world, and now I am older I realise I was right.
I’m lucky to be able to look back on my childhood and for it to be filled with happy memories. A lot of men from my dad’s generation fit into a certain kind of mould. My dad doesn’t.
While some men are proud of their stiff upper lip, my dad never shied away from showing my sister and I affection. Be it a hug, a hair ruffle or a kind word, there wasn’t (and still isn’t) any doubt how much he loves us. When my Gran (my dad’s mother in law) suffered from Alzheimers, my dad gave up his job to look after her. How many men would do that? How many men would visit their mother in law twice a day, every day? How many men would change her bed, help her dress, cook for her, clean her house and help her with her medication? He and my mum sacrificed holidays and put their lives on hold to look after her.
So when I say my dad is one a million, it isn’t a cliché. It’s true.
The sacrifices he made won’t have been a surprise to anyone who knows him. To spend time with my dad is to immediately know one thing – he puts his family first.
When we were young he worked long hours and yet he was never too tired to play a game or read us a a bedtime story. His enthusiasm for the fun things in life, holidays and days out, was infectious. The things that make him a wonderful dad, also make him a wonderful grandad, and I’m thrilled my children are lucky enough to have him.
Having a dad that always put his family first made me incredibly lucky, and I was also fortunate enough to find a man of my own that had that same quality.
I always knew my husband was a wonderful man, that’s why I married him! But it was only after having our first child I realised quite how amazing he is. Children were always going to be in our future, it was something we talked about a lot before we got married.
Like my dad, my husband is also the best kind of father – one that always puts his kids first. He wouldn’t think twice about making sacrifices to ensure the kids don’t go without. We are both of the same mindset – life is about making memories, not money.
My husband is quiet and reserved at times but he really comes alive when he’s with the kids. A big kid himself, he can get them in fits of giggles within seconds of walking through the door from work.
The affectionate nature that he previously only showed to me, is evident when he’s talking to and about the kids. He adores them and they adore him right back. The boys love his rambunctious ways, the football matches, the wrestling, the tickle fights and rugby tackles. Meanwhile our three year old daughter has him wrapped around her little finger. A true daddy’s girl.
I roll my eyes and laugh when she gets her way with a hug and a “please daddy” but then I smile. 30 years ago that little girl was me, and that man was my own dad.
It’s at that point I realise: if my daughter and husband grow up to have the relationship I have with my dad, she’ll be a very lucky girl.