There are lots of annoying and difficult things about having divorced parents, but there are some great things too and for me one of them is that my Dad looked after us for half of the time when we were younger. As a result I think I am closer to him that I ever would have been otherwise. He did all the normal, boring small stuff that breaks down any barriers and now I am grown up he is the person I turn to for a chat or advice. Not that I always take it, because as he once told me: “Advice costs nothing and that’s usually what it is worth”
Today is Father’s Day and I won’t be cooking my Dad a Sunday lunch or taking him to the pub because he is on the way to France. So, instead I’ve been thinking of some of those small things that make my Dad, well, my Dad.
Brushing my hair as a kid and always dragging the brush a bit too hard and doing the ponytail a bit too tight. A clean hanky in his pocket every day. Making the best fancy dress costumes, me as a Walkers crisp bag was a particular triumph. Eating a cooked breakfast in such a way that there is always one piece of each thing left to put on the fork at once and perfectly mop up the last of the plate juices, it really is a skill to marvel at. Reading every bit of the paper, even the weekly free one, that’s full of adverts. Building me a cupboard while I was on holiday. Buying me oven cleaner as a birthday present, with a promise to also come and clean the oven.
He likes pubs that serve pints in plain glasses with no branding on them and growing vegetables rather than flowers, so that they can all be in straight rows. He likes coffee at 11am and lunch at 1pm. He likes a bargain and particularly likes looking for one, he is happy in charity shops and pound shops, much to my Stepmother’s horror. He likes his suits to be single breasted, with flat-fronted trousers that don’t have turn ups. He likes bands that play guitars, right from The Rolling Stones to Mcfly, except The Beatles, for some reason he doesn’t like them at all.
He doesn’t like eating with his dinner balanced on his lap, the Royal Family, people who don’t pull away from traffic lights quickly enough and people who don’t have their money ready at the supermarket checkout. He doesn’t like mobile phones or strong coffee. He doesn’t like TV chefs that taste the food and make a big deal out of it. (“you would see Delia doing that, you know”)
He is the kind of Grandad that lets his grandchildren have fun, eat cake and generally mess about. He enjoys taking them on the bus and to the park, as long as he can have a cup of tea somewhere and doesn’t have to change a nappy. He is the kind of Dad that understands it is his job to enjoy them and occasionally give me a break, but that it is my job to decide how they are disciplined and bought up. Even though I am sure his instincts may tell him differently, he always manages to keep quiet and let me be the parent. That’s pretty much the perfect Grandparent as far as I’m concerned.
These are the small things, that are actually the big things. These are the things I want to remember forever. What are your Dad’s small things that you want to remember?