Birthdays, Christmas, now Father’s Day. The dates don’t matter anymore. We are all rarely ever in one place at the same time, so we make do and celebrate when we can. I learned at a young age that Christmas on the 26th or 18th of December, or even the 10th of January was just as special as celebrating on the 25th. What’s Christmas without dad anyway?
Dad, do you remember how we used to dance? I’d stand on your feet and you’d hold my hands and we’d stumble around the house like that. Or when I used to steal your shoes and parade around in those? I still do that, if your flip-flops are nearby and I need something to slip on quickly, and now I’ve got myself a pair just like yours. Do you remember trying to get me to sleep whilst watching Formula 1 or football at some un-human hour? I do, they’re some of my earliest memories.
You taught me a lot of things. That there is always something to see around the next bend. That fun things happen near the water. The number of times we’ve stood and watched a boat pass under a bridge; I do that even if I’m on my own; people must think I’m nuts. I always wanted to ski, so that we could take on black runs on crazy mountains. I’m not quite there yet, but maybe one day. Winter sport is ‘our thing’ anyway, I don’t think it would be the same without you.
Remember the hours we spent playing football? I wanted to be just like you; to be a top scorer, a captain, know the best tricks. When I scored a penalty that time I thought of you, how I’d followed your exact advice and it had worked. When we trained for Cross Country you’d bike with us, talking about how you used to run too when you were in the army. Although you weren’t always at our races I thought of you, and pretended you were biking alongside as I puffed up the hills.
But most of all, I’ll blame you for wanting to see the world, explore new places. I remember when I was little and our plane was coming in to land at night time. Below were the countless lights of houses and roads, winking like stars. You probably don’t remember pointing it all out to me, but I do and I was enthralled; it’s a sight that still excites me.
There was New York; when we ate hotdogs every night, gate crashed a fashion shoot in Saks Fifth Avenue and were overawed by that skyline from the top of the Empire State Building. Remember eating at IHOP and you ordering a burger instead of pancakes then regretting it? In Ras al Khaimah we used to stroll on the beach and clamber over the rocks, and in the evenings we’d sit on the balcony and talk as it got dark and late. When we used to travel to Austria, we’d beg you to drive as fast as possible, and you’d pretend to give it some thought before obliging. You drove us across the dusty, half-tarred roads of Mozambique and Zimbabwe, taking it all as easily as if you were back on that Autobahn.
These days it seems we rarely travel together, and I guess that’s how it will be. But I’ll always know why I want to keep exploring. For each obscure stamp I get in my passport, each sunrise over a new city, each time my plane descends towards the lights at night, I’ll think of you and know why I feel as at home in the African bush as in the French countryside.
Thanks dad for the things you’ve taught me, I hope I can be a little like you. Happy Fathers day xx
Hello again after my short absence… exams and such kept me away. Sorry for the slightly disjointed post, thats what happens when you don’t write for a few weeks! I’ll have a post all about our time in Roma soon 🙂
All photos taken by either Maya or me