We talk a lot about mothers. Pay lots of respect. Award kudos. Stand back in awe at the supermum who can juggle a pinstriped career and high IQ babies, one, two, three or more. We love what our mothers teach us about love, life, self-respect and cooking (if they can cook and we’re even remotely interested. Mine, can. I’m not).
But what about the Dads? Sometimes I think we forget the amazing bond fathers have with their children. My sons adore their father. Our eldest boy loves that Daddy helps him “…understand life and scientific things and lets him watch Jurassic Park.” And our youngest is learning the finer points of drawing the perfect Mickey Mouse from Daddy.
When I was a little girl my favourite t-shirt was a bright, pink number with an iron-on transfer that read, Daddy’s Little Girl. I wore it with pride, happy to be that girl. As for life’s big lessons, my Dad had a unique way of looking at stuff. Here’s how the first man I fell in love with saw life, love and all the cracks in between.
I was a late bloomer, which suited Dad fine. Like most doting fathers, I don’t think he ever really wanted his little girl to grow up. But blossom I did. And when the curves eventually arrived together with my ‘training bra’, Dad did all he could so I wouldn’t be embarrassed by the ‘new me’.
He called my bra, ‘whatsiname’ – not as subtle as he thought.
on the birds and the bees
There was no big talk, no great explanation on what men and women did to make babies. Nothin’. However, in my early 20s, on one of our many taxi drives through the city together, Dad said, completely out of the blue, “And sex… I know, you’re a woman now, but just be careful, you know, AIDS.”
Dad believed more in the gospel of Nat King Cole than any Orthodox deity he was raised to worship. So when it came to explaining the meaning of life to me, he referred to the ‘hymn book’, Nature Boy. “The greatest thing, you’ve ever learned, is just to love and be loved in return.”
In the final weeks of my father’s life, I had the bittersweet honour of sharing lots of meaningful conversations with him.
One afternoon, I said, ‘Dad, you love me so much, it’s ridiculous.’
And his response was immediate. “That’s what love is.”
If you have a father – or a father figure – who means the world to you, make it dad’s day everyday. And give him more than socks tomorrow.