By Lauren Edwards
The only man a girl can depend on is her Daddy.Frenchie from Grease
When I thought about what I wanted to say to you today, above all else, I wanted you to know how loved you are. I have friends who unfortunately have strained, often absent, relationships with their Dad’s and I am very fortunate that you have always been a constant support for me and my brother.
You grew up in post-war Britain as the only boy with three sisters, which has meant that you have always viewed women as equals, although was probably bossed about a fair bit too! You had a close relationship with your doting Mum and a tough Scottish Dad. You once told me how Grandad walked home from work one night and took a short cut across some train tracks only to be knocked into a neighbouring field by a train! He still managed to walk home and explained to Nan when she enquired about his bruises the next day, “that it was just a wee knock Hen.”. He was a formidable character to you but a soppy Grandad to us.
Your 20s were spent in the ‘swinging 60s’ and as a promoter of bands you were at the forefront of rock n roll music, and you remember what you did as well! You managed to wangle concert tickets for The Beatles during their heyday only to pass them to my Aunt’s as you ‘didn’t want to sit through 2 hours of fans screaming!’
You worked long hours when we were young, although I do not recall you being an absent father as whenever you were home, even though you were probably shattered, you would devote your last stores of energy to your children. As we grew older and Mum returned to work, you were ‘in charge’ of dinner preparations and my brother and I would mouth ‘corn beef hash for dinner again then?’, don’t worry, it was edible with a large helping of HP sauce!
As a natural storyteller, you can entertain a room full of people and with your quick witted and silly sense humour you can always make us giggle. You have a Wikipedia sized knowledge on pretty much everything, which often leads to me telling my children ‘to call Grandad’ for any tricky homework questions. I can remember how excited I was to get my job at The Daily Telegraph as it has always been my mission to make you proud of me. I would eagerly return home to share with you an exclusive nugget of current affairs and would often have a read of the broadsheets on my way home, to ensure I was able to impress you with my take on the Middle East crisis!
You have always had a knack for psychiatry, a profession I think you would have flourished in on a different path. Whenever I have had a wobble, you are the only one who can instantly diffuse my mood and make me see a situation from an objective point of view. You have always been able to give sage advice in a calm manner and provide a shoulder to cry on for many.
As a Day Centre Officer for the bulk of your career, you transformed the lives of many adults with learning difficulties, treating them as ‘normal’ and guiding them through essential skills without ever patronising them. When you created a gardening group of autistic adults to landscape gardens in the local community, you brought your willing troupe of gardeners to my house. They would hang on your every word as you patiently demonstrated how to create flowerbeds and educate on weeding. And when they didn’t achieve what you wanted, you never lectured but just allowed them to find their own way.
I love that you are now retired and how you and Mum have such a close relationship with your grandchildren. They look up to you the way I used to with Grandad, they all beg to spend one-on-one time with you both and I love that. I look forward to our relationship evolving, I will always strive to make you proud of me, even though I know you are, still seek your advice on a regular basis and still try to keep up with you on our post Newsnight debates.
I love you Dad and I definitely do not say that enough. Happy Father’s Day.