They say that from the instant he lays eyes on her, a father adores his daughter. Whoever she grows up to be, she is always to him that little girl in pigtails. She makes him feel like Christmas. In exchange, he makes a secret promise not to see the awkwardness of her teenage years, the mistakes she makes or the secrets she keeps.
It’s been the week to celebrate my parents. Today is my Dad’s turn. Once again we are not in the same city, we are not even in the same country. And in Ethiopia, where my Dad currently works, it will not even be his birthday, I think. Ethiopia follows the Orthodox calendar and therefore I am not sure what day or even year it is there. But since I’m in Australia and today is the 6th May, I will celebrate my Dad for all he is to me.
Dad’s are different to Mum’s. Dad’s pick you up by your ankles with one hand and hang you up side down tickling you on your sides with the other. They carry you on shoulders when you are tired from walking or to give you the best view of fireworks. They miss birthdays and special events in your baby years, because they were working long hours to save money for your future. Dad’s are ATM’s for daughters, midnight chauffeur’s, security guards at parties and spring boards in the pool. They are the final say, even though it’s a joint parental decision and cop the most hate from disgruntled teenager daughters, because that’s just the role Dad’s were made to fill.
My Dad is my partner in long-winded deep and meaningless chats about the world and how we can save it from all its problems. He is the one I sing with in the supermarket, much to the embarrassment of my Mum and sister who walk several aisles over from us. He is the one who dressed up as a gymnast for my gymnastic end of year concert and when Christmas rolled around would give thoughtful practical gifts, such as a brick to go towards my first house (with a lotto ticket taped to the underside).
He is there to bail me out when I make mistakes and loves me regardless of how left of centre I might be. And in his words “Em is very different to Sarah–I call her a free spirit.” Only a Dad could put that kind of positive spin on the way his daughter chooses to live her life.
So today I count down the days until we catch up in Africa and wish you a very happy birthday, with many more spent somewhere around the world!!