The praise I have for you, cannot be confined to an a4 piece of card that I know you will take out of the envelope once and leave on the floor of your car. Being a dad cannot be easy, you probably fear me growing up, because of the dangers outside, but I think you know that I’m more than capable of handling them, thanks to the determination and fight you instilled in me at a young age. I know that sometimes, I need your help with the small things like homework and kicking technology into life, but soon, I’ll be at the age where I no longer have homework, and I’ll start reading instruction manuals on my own.
I know that every time we sit in silence, you have something you want to say, but instead you compare me to you. You tell me that I’m an exact mould of you, that my nose and my frown remind you of me, and if your mother was still here, she would love me like a daughter, instead of a granddaughter. You would tell me stories about your family, and show obvious favoritism towards your youngest brother, because you’re his protector, you remind me that I need to protect my youngest brother, because I have the biggest heart in the family, and wouldn’t think twice about fighting someone who deserves it.
I know over the seventeen years, it has been difficult, but you were there for me when I first tried to ride a bike, when I won the skipping race on sports day, and you were by my hospital bed when I needed you to be. You were outside the room when I was in the MRI machine, and you were with me when we got my results.
My mother may not see your value, but I do. The person I am currently, has everything to do with how you raised me. Not getting to see you everyday, made me more independent, and when I did get to see you, you dedicated your time and your energy into making us all smile.
It may not mean much to you, but when I couldn’t sleep and you would drive me around in the car whilst I played the ukulele in the backseat until I felt sleepy, is one of my fondest memories of you. We didn’t need to document it on camera, or post it online, because I remember every second of it. The car would be silent, and the skies were nearly black, and sometimes you would request a song, and sing along to it.
You don’t get nearly enough praise as you deserve, and I too am guilty of it. I may not be the most emotional person, but like you, I learn to deal with things alone, and not cry over them. I don’t communicate my love with words, but I do with actions. You were the first person I hugged after eight years, because you didn’t make me feel alienated about my fears and my anxiety. You sat in the waiting room of every therapy session, you listened with respect and understanding for what I was going through, and in turn, you opened up to me about how you were feeling.
Above all, I admire your strength. I know there is a sadness inside of you, but you don’t want to let it out because you don’t want to hurt us. You are in pain, but you do not let it kill you.
I miss you, Dad. But I know you will come home soon, and you will track mud beneath your doc martens onto the white carpets, and you will smile with your cigarette rolled between your teeth, and wave with your fisherman sweater rolled above your wrist. You will drop your car keys on the counter and join us on the couch whilst we play some crappy family quiz show. For a moment, I will catch you staring at us all, willing to do this everyday, but then you look at the time and you leave again. You collect your keys from the counter, and yell a goodbye as you close the door, not bothering to wait for a reply.
I’m not angry with you, dad. I could never be angry with you, because you’ve always been there for me, even when you weren’t allowed to be. You need your space, you need to walk your dog, and smoke your cigarettes, without feeling like it’s wrong to do so. I’m sorry that mother doesn’t smoke, and I’m afraid of dogs, but she understands, and she needs her space too. She needs to read her books and do her charity work.
You were polar opposites, but you made me, your little bundle of features and quirks. I took your nose, and your frown and your attitude, but I also took mother’s passion for books and her willingness to help people. You may not be sat here with us celebrating your day with cake and company, but you are at home with the things that make you happiest. Perhaps You are fishing, Unaware that at home we have a present on the counter for you, and a brain full of praises.
Happy Father’s day, Dad. With many more to come.