He’s ageing now in a city thousands of kilometres from here and I don’t speak to him enough and I hardly ever see him.
But when I think about my dad, I remember being little. When I was sick, I would rest between his seated legs and wait for him to feed me pulped fruit scraped layer upon layer from an apple. He did it to help me feel better and he never failed in his task.
I remember us playing hide and seek. His trick was to climb up the tree that divided our backyard in two. At some point I’d remember to look up and there he would be, chuckling with his own amusement.
His favourite shows: MASH, The Goodies, The Two Ronnies, Benny Hill – I’m cringing now as I write this. We watched them together as he indoctrinated me with his sense of humour. Fortunately, not all of it stuck. Fortunately, some of it stuck.
He worked so much I didn’t see him a lot. On a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, whichever was the end of his working week, I’d go outside and watch him scrub BHP fitter and turner grime out of his overalls. He had this special thin, hard soap just for the job.
I remember one day we walked to Charlestown together. I was trying to grow up, I was in my first year of high school. He said, ‘Let me hold your hand, you’ll be grown up soon enough and you won’t let me any longer.’ And of course I did as my heart melted a little.
I remember him keeping a watchful eye over me the day my first boyfriend came a-calling. I don’t remember him returning!
He would light us a fire to keep us warm in winter and bring us marshmallows to toast on the long skewers he had forged himself.
These are some of the things I hold dearest.
They are not grand gestures.
They are some of the ways I know that I was loved.
If you’re wondering what matters to your kids, it’s knowing that they’re loved.Happy birthday dad xxx