So… just how do I fit more than 32 years into one blog post? I think I’ll start with some of the things I can remember (in no particular order).
At my 21st birthday party, my dad gave a speech and he told me how proud he was of me, and how much he loved me, and he had worked out just how many seconds I’d been alive! Then he made me stand on a table to say my speech- and then down a cocktail! I’ll never forget it- it was a “Sex On The Beach” in fact. Needless to say I had a fabulous birthday party!
My folks gave sister B and I each a recipe book once. Mom wrote in B’s book, and Dad wrote in mine… I quote:
Don’t Burn da Food!!!
Ma and Dad
I wasn’t allowed to go on a date until the guy had come to the house and asked permission from dad to take me out… all us girl’s boyfriends had to do the same thing. And Dad just loved to watch them squirm! You see, dad isn’t a big talker, and he doesn’t have a smile permanently plastered to his face- so when these guys came to the house dad didn’t exactly go out of his way to make small talk! One of my “serious” boyfriends described him as “…a big oke with a beard and a gun!” and that was after I’d moved out of the house! And I think I‘ve mentioned Dad came up with nicknames for all our boyfriends- sometimes the nickname was from characteristics of theirs like pierced ears, sometimes it was a just a twisted version of their name.
My dad is one of the main reasons our family is as close as it is. He has always insisted on us kissing him hello, goodnight and goodbye. We have never been allowed to arrive or leave without the appropriate greetings. And I have done the same with my knucklehead – to his and my benefit I think! Dad has also always insisted on family holidays and occasions being celebrated as such.
My dad instilled a love of and a respect for punctuality in all of us. He insists on being on time for everything no matter what it is. If you want to upset my dad- you just have to be late!
When my last relationship ended, I was devastated. The guy had been visiting me and we had just celebrated our six month anniversary. I’d gone to work and I came home to an empty house (clarification: he and his stuff were gone) and there was a letter on my pillow. It was completely unexpected and I was shattered to say the least! It was only the second time in my life that I’d been that serious over someone and I was devastated. I phoned my mom in a state of near hysteria and my dad was at my flat within ten minutes! He didn’t speak, he just held me while I sobbed and ranted and cried.
I remember going to a nightclub once with a group of friends. It was a split level place, with a balcony type place overlooking the dance floor. My friends and I were on the dance floor, sister B as well, and as soon as the band left the stage for a break we grabbed the opportunity to fill in for them- suckers for a spotlight that we are! The next thing we knew my mom was there too- they had also been out gallivanting and had ended up in the same club. Mom joined us on the stage and we were doing all sorts of weird actions to the songs that were playing and we gradually realised that the people on the dance floor were looking upwards and away from us. Then my mom said “Just look at your father!” and pointed, and there was my dad- balancing on a narrow wooden bench next to the upstairs railing doing his own version of dancing- and everyone on the dance floor was copying him! Of course we were quick to tell everyone he was our dad, and my mom was asked later in the evening where we were from because everyone had decided we must be foreigners- South Africans don’t behave like that! Especially not having the whole family in one club!
My dad is an exceptionally talented photographer, and I just know that had his life been different he could have made a career of it rather than a hobby, and just like any artist he is very critical of his own work and is never happy enough with it! He instilled an interest in and a love of photography in all four of his children. One year at Christmas he gave us each a camera- a Canon no less! And I think my knucklehead is one of the most photographed babies on the planet- barring my nephew N I think!
My dad has stuck by my knucklehead too, he hasn’t only been a “father figure” for him, he’s also played a major role in his life. Dad was the one who nicknamed him Strawbreez! My dad has taken time off work to go to with me to schools to “hold my hand” (so to speak) when I had yet another meeting with teachers and/ or a principal. And the knucklehead loves and respects his Grampa- he hates to disappoint him.
One thing I do regret is how much I hurt my dad by falling pregnant when I did. I’ll never forget how he sat on my folk’s bed with his head in his hands, not saying a word, while my mom did all the talking. Before they found out I had (of course) imagined the worst- but then it was over- and dad was as excited over my baby as any grandfather would be over their first grandchild. I sometimes wish the situation could have been different, that I could have excitedly given the news to my parents about their impending grandparenthood like “good” daughters get to do. But that feeling passes quickly, especially when I see just how much my boy and my dad love each other.
I have a lot of my dad’s traits too. Neither of us can do anything especially quietly- you should hear us looking for something in a kitchen drawer! And people often see us as gruff and/or bad tempered because of our mannerisms. We aren’t particularly patient either, and it was my dad who got me hooked on F1.
In January this year, I thought I was going to lose my Daddy Darling and as many times as I’ve told him I love him- when I was standing next to the gurney just before they wheeled him into theatre I felt like I hadn’t said it enough!
Dad- I love you THIIIIIS much, and I truly don’t know what I would do without you… Happy Father’s Day Dad, and LOTSALOVE!