The title for this week’s Gallery posts is ‘Dads’ and it’s quite poignant that it’s plural, because I do indeed have two.
The one I was born with wasn’t much cop. He was young, he’ll admit himself to having been selfish and there were a lot of occasions where he let me down and wasn’t there when he should have been. He was only 20 when I was born, and though in some cases that may have been old enough to deal with the responsibility of fatherhood, for mine it wasn’t. He and my Mum split when I was 5 and I only saw him a handful of times a year, mostly birthdays and Christmas.
Although it was painful for me to have an absent father, my step dad more than made up for it. I was a bit of an odd kid, I didn’t really play well with kids of my own age, I just didn’t find them stimulating and things like Barbie largely bored me. My step dad seemed to know how to get through to me, how to engage me. One of my fondest memories is when he gave me an invoice book that he’d got from work, and we’d play ‘Antiques Dealer’ where he’d come into my ‘shop’, pretend to buy items of our furniture and I’d write him out an invoice in my invoice book. Hey, I told you I was odd! Sunday afternoons were my favourite times as we’d go to a bootsale in the morning then come home and while Mum did housework and cooked dinner, Dad (I’ve called him Dad since very early on) would sit with me while I went through his huge vinyl collection and let me choose whatever I wanted to listen to. It was a fantastic time and a real education. I couldn’t be more grateful.
As the years went by and my bio dad grew up, he became a much better father, and has really stepped up in the last few years. He’s a brilliant grandad to Sausage and visits regularly, even though he’s had a lot on his plate. He’s a great Dad to my little (half) brother too, and far from being bitter that he gets a version of Dad that I didn’t, I’m just super stoked for my little bro.
So, I guess you could say I’m lucky. I get two Dads.
But what makes me feel luckiest of all is watching Sausage with her Dad. I could not imagine a more doting father, and it warms my heart to witness their growing relationship. When people used to say “Oh, isn’t she a Daddy’s girl?” I’d feel a pang of jealousy. I now just feel a huge amount of pride, for both my husband and my daughter. She idolises her father and he returns that love and adoration a million times over. It’s palpable, when they’re in the same room together, or just sat at Husband’s desk, drawing a picture. Two peas in a pod. And they’re both mine.
I’m definitely the lucky one.