You once told me that for as long as you can remember Father’s Day has always made you feel sad. I imagine you as a boy; wanting to have a Dad on Fathers Day, wanting him to come back into your life. But he didn’t. And now you have two boys of your own who worship you, I wonder if that sadness has dulled with the joy they’ve brought. I think it has – but as is the case for so many others, Fathers Day will always be tinged with sadness, even though it may not be as gut-wrenching as it was when you were a child.
I can’t fully appreciate how hard it must have been because I am so lucky with my Dad. He was, is, always there for me. He fed and changed me and read to me, he never missed a parent’s evening or dance show or sports day. My Dad and I have been on countless adventures, gigs, holidays, the pub – we even work together now. And crucially Dad was there to support and help Mum; they were always a team as parents and their marriage, now 36 years and counting, is a steady and shining example to me and my brothers. For you, this was something you dreamt of but did not have. But even though you didn’t have a proper role model, you are a wonderful Dad to our boys. You are patient, kind, resourceful, fun, and silly. You are tough when you need to be, and soft when that’s needed too. You understand that boys need to cry and talk and express their feelings. And we are a team; you always have my back and you are always there for us. For me this is normal, this is how family has always been for me. For you – it’s not something you ever experienced as a child and I know it is something you cherish.
Occasionally when you do something with the kids you tell me it was something you had imagined doing with your Dad, like throwing a ball around, or when you and Frank made a model of the solar system together. I hope that these moments help heal the wounds that your father’s absence inflicted when you were young. And as cathartic as it may be, it’s also a comfort, I hope, to know that your kids won’t experience the same pain you did. Both our boys love you immensely, even when you have to say no to a second ice cream, or make them tidy up their Lego.
This year Father’s Day is even more poignant because I know so many people will be facing their first Father’s Day without their Dad, including two of my friends who have lost their fathers far too prematurely this year. And many more in our country and across the world will be feeling that pain; even little boys like ours. This sad but brutal fact makes me appreciate our life together even more. So while we are having fun in the sunshine on Sunday, I will be raising a glass to the little boy you were and the man, the father, you became.
Lauren, Frank and Bill x