Thursday, November 18, 2010

NaBloPoMo 18 - Dad

Today is my dad's birthday.

I had struggled to find the right present to mark this, his 51st year.
Grown ups tend to have everything they need, and to buy the things
they want. Not like when you were a child, and you hoped and dreamed
of toy trains, toy ponies all wrapped up in shiny paper.

So I thought, and I mulled, and in the end a model bus depot leapt at
me from the pages of Amazon. Dad collects model Belfast and Dublin
buses, that remind him of his use. So I thought a realistic paper home
for them might be a suitable home for them, and could lead to another
of his famed dioramas, with the sheep walking into the telephone box.

Growing up in a house full of girls, I'm always surprised how many of
Dad's hobbies he managed to share. I read the label on every exhibit
in a museum just like him. I spent three hours in the London Transport
Museum, which would have done him proud. I share his love of choral
music, and family history. We would watch Formula 1 with him, and go
to transport festivals, and war museums.

But the thing I remember most about growing up with Dad is that whilst
he'd work long hours, he'd often come and pick us up from Guides, or
Ballet or Rehearsals. And in those times, I'd get to spend some time
alone with Dad talking through the day. Setting the world to rights,
trying to solve problems. Talking about faith and life and love.

It's stood us in good stead. I call him often once or twice a month as
I walk home from work, and chat to him over the speaker phone as he
drives home from work, comparing office stories and church stories and
worrying about the amount of paper work Mum seems to have to do, and
laughing about how that's rich coming from Dad with the pilot case
laden with quotes that need writing up, and regularly breaks under the

From Dad I get my public speaking skills, my gift of the gab, my love
of the craic. I was used as pro in many talk during family services,
and it's a sheer delight to watch my Dad now taking the tentative
steps towards a vocation in the church, turning these skills over to
God in a new way.

I also got from Dad the idea of what a husband should be. Watching a
man who has to work hideously long hours remembering to buy the yellow
rose for my Mum every Christmas, tucking handwritten notes into packed
lunches and praising my Mum for her creativity her talent, catching
them smooching in the kitchen and cuddling up to watch a film.

So Dad, here's to your birthday, here's to many more years. Thank you.

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