Today is my Dad’s birthday. He’s in his late 60s. When my husband asked me how old he was going to be, and I worked it out, I was shocked. I forget that my Dad is technically a pensioner. To me, he’s still the young man I remember from my childhood. My hero.
My Dad was a policeman. He worked hard. It wasn’t easy. He worked shifts, including nights and it meant we sometimes didn’t see much of him. I know now, from personal experience, how hard it is to keep two kids quiet while Daddy tries to sleep off a long, hard night shift. No wonder my Dad sometimes looked grumpy when he eventually emerged sometime in the afternoon. But even if he looked like he hadn’t slept, he never moaned at us and always found some time to play before going out again for the next shift.
My Dad was always ‘good cop’ to my Mum’s ‘bad cop’. Mum was the one to smack our legs if we’d been really naughty (it’s ok, it was the 80s – it happened all the time. I’m fine. Not traumatised or damaged in any way…), but if Dad ever had cause to tell us off, we knew we were really in trouble, it happened so rarely. I
was am a real Daddy’s Girl. I loved nothing more than snuggling up with him to watch The Muppet Show or Doctor Who. He was my protector when The Great Gonzo or the Daleks showed up to scare me.
My Dad is one of those people who is liked by everyone. I don’t know of a single person he’s ever had a problem with (although maybe he’s just never let on?). He’s met a lot of people over the years and he’s still in touch with many of them now. I’ve married a man who is very similar in many ways to my Dad, and I hope that my marriage lasts as long as my parents’ – 45 years and counting.
My Dad is the best Grandad my children could have wished for. I know – we all think that about our parents (well, mostly!), but he really is. He was at both of my children’s births along with my Mum, and there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for me or for them. When Big was a baby, my Dad was semi-retired, still working a few night shifts for the Police each month. Yet he still looked after Big for me so I could return to work. And that childcare has continued as Big has grown, and with the addition of Small four years ago. My Dad has walked them to school every day, collected them, gone along to those days when parents are invited in but neither D nor I could go. He took my turn on the playgroup rota and even got so involved that he volunteered his time on a couple of occasions when Small wasn’t even there! They loved Grandad Dave. My kids absolutely adore their Grandad and still get excited to see him and their Grandma. I don’t think they’re happy that I can now take them to school every day and they don’t see them as much (although I’m not sure how much of that is to do with being able to play on the ipad (Big) and having a biscuit before school (Small)).
My Dad is there if ever I need him; if I’m not well he’ll come and get the kids so I can have some peace and quiet; if the kids are sick he’ll come and hold the bucket while I have a panic attack in another room. He still offers to pick me up on my rare nights out so that I can have a drink and he ferries me around if ever the car is out of action. He is my handyman, because D’s really not and he and Mum have helped us out in so many different ways I’ve lost count.
My dad is a brother, a son, a grandad and an uncle. He’s been a carer, my personal taxi driver and an adviser. He’s a baker, a fisherman and an artist. He loves wildlife and nature, sport and music. He really is my hero. My Dad has never judged me for my choices and loved and supported me no matter what, even when those choices have been questionable. I hope I’ve made him proud and can be the kind of parent to my children that I had growing up and still have today.