Having dedicated a blog entry to my Mum on Mothers Day, it seems only fair that my Dad should have the same honour bestowed upon him on Father’s Day. Now, knowing me as he does, he won’t be surprised to learn that this blog entry is a day late. Well I’m pretty much late for everything and if I was on time, he’d never believe that I’d written it myself.
So let me tell you about my Dad. He is kind, generous, frank, funny, overprotective (as only the father of daughters can be), a teller of corny jokes, somewhat inattentive, devoted, a good dancer, handsome and fun.
When I see my Dad playing with my three year old niece, I remember how much time he would spend playing with my sister and I. He was an excellent swing pusher; “1, 2, 3… over the bar” he’d say. I remember desperately trying to slow myself down on the ‘Over the bar’ push, for fear that I would actually manage a 360 degree loop over the top of the swings and fly off across the park. Of course, nowadays it wouldn’t be such a problem because of the soft rubber on the floor. In the 70’s and 80’s, children were tough, no namby pamby bouncy ground for us. Concrete only. Usually containing gravel and potholes for maximum impact should any part of your body make contact. Removing tiny stones from playground injuries was a recognised pastime back then. You could even mix it up by adding a bit of iodine or TCP to the injury, although that really was for the very proficient injury masters.
My Dad is an Electrician which is great as an adult when I require new light fittings or something rewired and I was a demon plug wirer from quite a young age. Although I do often tell him that based on my history of owning terrible old cars, I would have had much more use out of him if he were a mechanic. That said, I have got some lovely fairy lights around the mirror in my bathroom which are slightly against electrical regulations so I can’t complain too much.
When I was a young girl, my Dad owned a van. Well, he still owns one now (a big one, quite handy for getting him to move furniture for me). The van he had when I was small had two seats in the front and storage space and panelled sides at the back. Long before the days of seatbelts and booster seats, my sister and I would sit in the back of the van either on the inside of the wheel arch or on boxes or other objects which we’d turn into makeshift chairs.
One of my favourite things to sit on was a large wooden electrical wire reel (imagine cotton reels on a much bigger scale). I did get into trouble though when I told my Teacher at School “I sit on wire in the back of my Daddy’s van”. It wouldn’t have been too bad if my Dad had not been undertaking some electrical work at the Grand Hotel at about the same time, when it was blown up by the IRA. Of course the Police had to eliminate everyone from their enquiries and spoke to my Dad about whether he’d seen anything. Unfortunately, after the wire comment, it didn’t go down well when I told my Teacher that some Policemen had come round to see if my Daddy put a bomb in the hotel. I think we were pretty lucky to get away without a visit from Social Services.
As an adult, my Dad has always been there for me. Whether I’ve locked myself out of my flat, need help making a decision about taking a new job, or whether it’s just him wanting to share his terrible jokes or words of wisdom (Week before my thirtieth birthday: “If you think the time between 20 and 30 goes quickly Jo, The time between 30 and 40 just flies past.”… Thanks for that Dad).
He is good at giving advice, although only if you explain the problem in the fewest possible words. As I mentioned above he has a somewhat inattentive quality to him. Unfortunately, I have the chatterbox genes from my mothers side of the family and I do often wonder if Dad’s secretly wishing that I had an off switch.
I don’t really look like my Dad. Mind you that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I don’t generally aspire to look like a 59 year old man, even one who does look after himself. I am very aware of having inherited some of his qualities though; some good, some not so good. Unruly hair and too many greys at such a young age = bad. Willing to go the extra mile for people = good. That weird thing that we both do at traffic lights when we have to take the car out of gear and put it back in gear just to check that we were actually in gear in the first place = bad. Devoted to my family = good.
I don’t tell my Dad enough how much I appreciate him and I hope that he reads this and knows that he is loved and valued. He has taught me many things, not just that the brown wire is live, blue wire is neutral and yellow and green wire is earth. He has also taught me about working hard, showing commitment, doing my best, being there for my family, caring for animals and helping people when I can. For all of these things I am grateful. Oh yeah, and the fact that I am a demon plug wirer.