Tomorrow is Father's Day and I'll more than likely not have time to post on here as 5 year old and 9 year old will probably feel the need to do something which involves glue, sellotape, toilet roll tubes, cornflake packets, paints and scissors all in the name of making a present for Dad! In addition I'll need to pop up to the cemetery to say hello to Father Shaw so I'm doing this now, a day early.
There are 4 of us in my wee circle in my wee hoose and there are 4 Dad's to be considered which is nice and symetrical. So for each of them a few words...
First up we'll do Frankie. Frankie or Francis to give him his full name is Geoff's Dad. He has long since shuffled off this mortal coil. He died of heart failure in 1972 in his forties. Geoff was only 9. His memories of Frankie are limited but he still recalls things Frankie did with him such as when he left for work he'd stick Geoff on the back of his scooter (proper one, not push by foot!) and give him a ride to the end of the street before lifting him off and saying goodbye for the day. When Jake appeared, who would have been Frankie's first grandchild, Geoff felt that sadness that you get when you wish your Dad could have been here to see something. We remembered him by adding Francis in as one of the wee man's middle names. We have a few bits and pieces which belonged to Frankie and we'll pass them on to Jake when he's older and we'll tell him what we know about his Grandad he never got to meet. Frankie must have been a special guy for Geoff's Mum Isa never remarried or ever had another man in her life. Frankie was her true love till the day she died. There can be no card or present for Frankie but he will be thought about on Sunday and his name will be mentioned by us.
Next up is Stephen. My Ex. Chloe's biological Dad. What can we say about him as a Father? Well for the 2 years he lived with Chloe he was more or less a model Dad. She was his pride and joy and he wouldn't even go to the toilet without her. She was his best friend. Sadly though things changed and in the last 6 years she has seen less and less of him. She has seen him twice in the last year. He lives about 15 minutes away and his Mum lives in the same building as mine. He never calls her, there's no christmas or birthday presents and he couldn't tell you how she does at school. He pays no child support and provides nothing for her. It shouldn't come as a surprise. He has another daughter who will be 18 in July who he's rarely seen since she was 8. She lives 10 minutes from him. He lets Chloe down time and time again and I'm caught in the middle. I wish he'd vanish out of our lives for good but as soon as he re-appears Chloe wants to see him and I get stuck between trying to protect her and keeping her happy. Invariably I know seeing him will make her happy for about 3 hours, which is as long as he'll spend with her, and then she'll be sad again when he fails to ring for months on end. His parenting skills leave a lot to be desired. He has a beautiful, bright, lively, funny daughter and he can't be arsed. So there's no card heading his way. He doesn't deserve his Daughters love or respect.
Now we have Geoff. Jake's biological Dad and Chloe's non-biological Dad which makes him sound like a soap powder! A latecomer to parenthood, Geoff was 38 when Jake appeared. Kids didn't figure in LBJ (life before Jenny), his wife didn't want any. Then he meets me and within 6 weeks we're staring at parenthood! Geoff is a great Dad. He disciplines, spends time with them, changed the nappies, cleans the puke, mends the bumps and scrapes, provides for them, talks to them, knows their favourite foods, tv programmes and colours. He goes to school meetings, does the homework and encourages them. He makes them laugh, he mends the bikes, he cleans their rooms, he irons their clothes. He teaches them things and he shows them things. He is everything a Dad should be. He took Chloe under his wing from day one, never making a difference between her and Jake. She is his little girl and he will always tell anyone he has 2 kids. Chloe calls him Dad and has done since she was 3 years old. They are so close that Chloe wants him to adpot her and her name changed. So for him, there will be cards, presents and love this Father's Day because he deserves it.
Then there's Sam. Father Shaw. My Dad. He's been gone for 2 years this July. He was a funny, loveable, silly, crazy, handsome man. A man who made friends with anyone. He was a great Dad. He has left us a great legacy. Many happy memories filled with laughter. Things we shared with him and will never forget. Times he did or said something to make us laugh. Times he rescued us from some drama or another in his own funny way (usually with help of a credit card!). He has also taught us some great things...how to stand up for ourselves, how no-one is better than we are, to be proud and independent, to always see the funny side of things, to know right from wrong, to have manners, to show respect where it is deserved and contempt where it is deserved. He also taught us the offside rule, how to arm wrestle, how to read the odd's at the bookies and pick the right horse, how to polish shoes, how to save money for a rainy day, the words to football songs, how to host a good party and many a word of rhyming slang which he'd make up as he went along!! Most of all he taught us the meaning of unconditional love. So tomorrow he will get a kiss blown up to heaven and thoughts of him will be in my head and he will get a visit to his resting place from his daughters to let him know he's still loved and remembered for the 30 or so years he put in to being our Dad.
Dad's are special people, Dad is a word that means more than just the man who made you. 3 out of 4 in our house have made the grade. It's a good result!
To all the Dad's whether your kids are young or old, whether you're here in body or in memory...Happy Father's Day.