Well, as everyone is doing the whole father’s day thing I thought I’d put in my twopenny worth
My dad is 65, not overly tall and quite unassuming. He’s practical and thoughtful, witty and clever, still eager to learn things and remember things, lives his life as he wants to with the resources available, careful with finances and quite awesome at budgeting. Before retiring he was the man who put veneers onto bespoke furniture for schools and businesses. He’s also a joiner, he put the double glazed windows in our home about 25 years ago (with help from the neighbouring builder) and they are still holding the roof up quite nicely. He made them himself while he was working at a joinery company in one of the local towns. They are mahogany frames and you can just about tell that from the patches of bare wood underneath the chipping and peeling paintwork. He’s not had time to do much DIY in the house and for the last 7 years or so has not had mum around to tell him what she wanted him to paint next. Mum died from cervical cancer. So I guess my dad is also my mum now too. We both miss her. Dad never pushed me into visiting her grave, he knows it was enough to be at the funeral to say goodbye, that she is not in that cold, damp, hole in the ground. He also knows that mentally I couldn’t handle it though that goes unspoken, he just nods when I say she’s not there so why go. He doesn’t visit as much now either though he has kept it nice from what I have heard. I’m glad he doesn’t go as much because I know deep down it just made him hurt even more that she had gone and with a daughter who can’t get her act together, or couldn’t, my act is coming together these days thanks to coaching, he focused his energies on being mum and dad for me.
He doesn’t like it when I cry and is quite clumsy in dealing with it. Though when my beloved cat died last year he was amazing. I was sat sobbing in the kitchen when he came home from shopping. He hugged me til I stopped sobbing and then organised a plot in the garden for him. He bent over backwards to help me through that. We spent money we probably couldn’t afford on a few tubs and numerous plants to create a fitting memorial.. which have mostly been eaten by slugs, but that reminds me of the cycle of life and that my little ginger furball is off on new adventures in the same way that the slugs who ate the slug pellets will now be on a new journey too.
I think in that way I take after my dad. Whatever hurdles have been put in his way he has found a way to get over them no matter how long it took. Redundancies, fighting off repossession of our little family home, holding us together in a form of sanity when mum died and before that coping with her illness and helping me to cope with it too, fighting back to fitness when he almost lost his arm and his life in an industrial accident, supporting mum when she was not having a great time of things with her artificial leg (mum had been through the mill too losing her leg below the knee in a traffic accident at 18), supporting her through her final illness, supporting me when my aunt was visiting every day and adding stress to me. I was mum’s carer basically as was dad, we had a daily nurse, the doctors had told us to make the most of our time with her and I couldn’t move to have time with her with auntie under feet for hours a day every day, sitting around looking morbid or rearranging every single thing in the kitchen so that I had to go and put everything back the way it was. I understand she wanted to spend time with her baby sister too, but not at the cost of our time together or our sanity. Dad kept me strong though and made sure we both had a day to ourselves to get away from auntie. Auntie being the dimwit she is even after we explained we needed time out still offered to do our shopping so we didn’t have to go out. I may sound hard on her but she never took the most blatant of hints. Dad kept me civil through that time too, supporting me in what I was telling her and suggesting things I could do to stay out of her way. She made life hard for both of us in what was already the hardest time of our lives. Because of my dad my aunt still lives and I still have my freedom and most of my sanity.
My dad is the best role model I could ever have and I have done my best to emulate him. I am quiet and slow to show anger, not saying I don’t anger quickly, I really should have been born with fiery red hair, but he has shown me how to not fly off the handle as often as I would. He has the most stable temperament I have ever seen in any man. he stands and takes whatever is thrown at him and deals with it calmly, quietly, no fits of anger or temper tantrums, no surrender either. He is the embodiment of our Anderson ancestors’ motto “Stand Sure”
He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. ~Clarence Budington Kelland
And he is thankfully still doing just that. And I am still learning from him. Especially on the budgeting.