A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Thursday, September 30, 2004

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my dad's birthday - he is somewhere on the road, (he just left Tawny's last night) and I'm not sure when he's finishing this trip. I only know that he will be home by no later than Tuesday, in time for my wedding.

My relationship with my father has been a tumultuous one over the years. As a young child it was really good - dad did a number of fun things with us (I was reminded of a few forgotten things Tawny has listed over at Locobellatuna). I remember he used to take us to the field and fly this kite we had with us... It was yellow with two bright white eyes and a long red tail. Kites usually come with a certain amount of string and a small little plastic handle... not ours. Ours had to have the handle of a broomstick because Dad had added so much extra string that a little plastic handle could never have supported it. Our kite used to fly so much higher than anyone else's - it was just a speck sometimes. Dad often used to have to help me and my sister hold it as it was hard to control with the kite being so high.

When my teenage years hit, it became very rocky between my father and I. Sometimes he had some ridiculous ideas that I just couldn't conform to, but I would say a lot of it was that we both had the same stubborn will to never give in. And boy could we shout. My poor mother hated this and finally, after years of it, she finally asked me to start agreeing with him just for the sake of peace. So at the ripe old age of 19 I did. I must say though, thru all this he diligently helped with my maths as well, how he had the patience with that, I'll never comprehend.

In my early 20's my dad and I got on reasonably well, however there were a few hurts here and there, even a few requests on his behalf for me to move out. Me being the stubborn girl I was, of course I didn't - I told him I'd stay home as long as I could just to annoy him! (I think 30 was punishment enough!!!)

Once I passed my mid-twenties and had established myself with a half-decent career and most of my siblings were gone, Dad and I actually began to talk to each other a lot more. We seemed to get along pretty well and I enjoyed our much easier relationship. There had been a time in the past when I would groan upon pulling into the driveway to see his van parked there as I never knew what his mood would be...

Although my dad can be difficult, stubborn, self-absorbed, grouchy, etc. he can also be very loving and level headed and sometimes, believe it or not, pretty cool. I remember one time he came to me and asked 'Is that your bottle of wine hidden in the cold room' 'No', was my honest reply, and with a giggle 'I think its Sandra's'. His pretty calm response 'Well you'd better to tell her to hide it somewhere else before your mother finds it'. Not what I had been expecting.

I remember when Tawny moved to BC - we all stood at the airport clinging to her - I was a bit in awe to see my dad crying so much, right along witht the rest of us - it was very touching. When I left for my first (but unsuccessful) move to the UK last August I knew dad was sad but he left the departures lounge to go sit in the car... maybe he didn't want another scene like when Tawny left... I thought for a brief moment that maybe he didn't feel as close to me. Either way I was a bit relieved as its not easy to see your father cry. The next day while I was sitting in Gatwick Lock up wondering what was to be my fate, I was summoned to the phone. I picked it up to hear my dad's voice. As soon as he heard my voice telling him I was ok, he started crying. My big, strong dad was heartbroken. When I got home that night on the plane I could see the emotional turmoil both my parents had been thru...

My next journey to the UK in December was uneventful and I reached Andy's side with no problems. We were sitting in the Coffee Shop and I was trying to sort out my emotions and get myself together enough to call home. I knew both of my parents would be worried until they had heard from me, and Dad had told me he'd be up to go to work, but I thought I would wait until at least six a.m. There was no need to -Andy's cell phone rang and it was my Dad... he choked out on a sob that he couldn't wait, he had to know I was ok. He then said that he was so relieved to know that I was there with Andy and how happy he was for us. Needless to say I couldn't talk myself thru the tears.

Throughout my teenage years and into my early twenties I used to wonder about the depth of my father's emotions... I wonder no more. Although he doesn't show his feelings often, they are well and truly there.

Next week I will be getting married to Andy. My dad has told me that he wants to walk with me down that isle. I don't know why I was a little surprised at first (maybe I thought he wouldn't' want to be in the spotlight) but he is my dad afterall, so why wouldn't he want to?

My father is a good man and I love him, especially on this very special day.

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