Talking to my friends last weekend, it seemed that a lot of us have fathers whose birthdays fall close to Father’s Day. A coincidence, of course, but a tad annoying one. Sometimes, it can work out quite well. A few years ago, a friend of my brother was getting rid of a bearded dragon, and my dad had been on for ages about wanting some sort of reptile. As it cost a fair bit between the three of us (me and my two brothers), we gave it to him as a joint Father’s Day/birthday present, though ended up giving it to him over Easter. So, poor Dad, he kind of missed out on getting anything from us at all in June. Last year, trying to get a job close to Uni, I didn’t come home until July, so ended up missing both Father’s Day and his birthday. This year, I haven’t been able to afford to get him anything for today, which really does suck. All I can do is keep my fingers crossed that I get a job soon and just get him something awesome out of that.
I need to get him something awesome because, quite frankly, my dad is awesome. He deserves nothing but the best, and I really can’t wait for the day when he can just chill out, relax, without stressing himself out. (Although, knowing him, he will always find something to stress about.) When I was younger, my mother went to University, teacher training, meaning that during half term, Dad took five days off work to look after
me and my brothers. I loved these holidays. He’d take us on the train to Barry Island, where the rides would always be shut, and we would scramble into the arcades, wasting money on various machines. There was one where, at the back, there was a separate area. The games there gave out tokens, and me and my brothers would work together to get as many as we could, splitting them three ways to get prizes that, well, were crap. What seemed like a lot of tokens weren’t really much when split, but we loved it. All of this happened under the watchful eye of my father.
We eventually reached a point where my brothers were more interested in hanging out with their friends than their dad and little sister. So, these days began to belong to just us two.
He took me to see Tarzan, still one of my favourite films, and sat there, saying nothing as his head pounded because of the way the characters moved through the jungle.
I should explain something; my dad can be quite intimidating. He’s the kind of guy kids stare at, wide-eyed. They crouch behind their parents when they see him, sometimes. My cousin was nine when she visited from Australia, and she would stare at him, looking scared. My other cousin’s son cried when they tried to bring him in the house, because he knew my father was in there. And yet, he’s the kind of guy who, when we went out for a meal (just my mum, him and me), and there was a baby on the table nearby, he gave the kid a pound coin, for ice cream. He can’t pass someone homeless on the street without giving them money, and is more then generous in all aspects.
He looks like a grizzly, but is actually a teddy bear.
I have my father’s eyes, my father’s feet and his stubborn streak. Both of us rarely back down, and whenever I feel myself knocked back, I can feel that stubbornness kicking in, telling me “No, get back up! You’re better than this.” He has always been there for me, always the person I knew I could turn to when I was upset or hurt. He taught me to ride a bike, insisted I try harder at Maths, and read books to me even though he never reads anything except the newspaper. We have a lot in common. It wasn’t until long after I
decided Southern Comfort was my favourite drink that I found out it was his, too. I urged my parents to watch Once Upon A Time, thinking my mum would enjoy it, but coming back from Uni found out my dad had really got into it. He’s done so much for me, and my family. Ringing home one weekend, Mum told me he was down the workshop, working on a surprise for me. I knew what it was, but when I saw the bookcase sitting outside my room, it was so much better than I could have imagined. He’s always happy to buy a drink for me, and my friends if they’re there, and this year, one of my favourite memories is of getting drunk together at a family christening. (Thankfully, I inherited my father’s drinking ability rather than my mother.)
So, what it all boils down to is…I need to get my dad an awesome birthday present, no matter how late it is.