To My Dad
Where do I begin?
For the past 31 years, you have nurtured me, cared for me, protected me, guided me, encouraged me, lifted me up, and most of all you’ve loved me. As a child I took this for granted, but the older I get and the more stories I hear of people’s childhoods, the more I realise just how lucky I was to have such a stable home with such an amazing father.
Never once have I felt like you were distant, you’ve always been there. Even when I hit my teens and the Endometriosis began to rear it’s ugly head, you were there. It would have been so easy for you to leave it up to mum to help with my “women’s troubles” but you didn’t. I could see you didn’t always know what to do or how to help, but neither did she. That didn’t matter, you were still there. And that meant a lot.
And I’ll never forget that time in Ibiza, when I complained that Debbie wasn’t letting me dance with anyone on our night’s out. She told you it was to protect me, expecting you to fight her corner, but you didn’t. You stood there, washing the dishes from breakfast, and told us both that you knew you couldn’t protect us from everything, and that we would make mistakes no matter what you did. “In fact,” you said, “mistakes are a natural part of life”.
This didn’t mean that you didn’t care, far from it, but that you knew we were growing up and you couldn’t control what happened to us. Instead, you told us how you would always be there, ready to catch us when we fall and help us find our way back to our feet. It wouldn’t be easy, you said, especially when you could see the mistakes we were heading for, but you had accepted this.
I remember, even as a 16 year old, that this was important. I was impressed by your wisdom and hoped that when I had children of my own I would have that same strength and wisdom to follow in your footsteps. Only now that I am a mother am I truly beginning to realise just how wise and strong you are.
These days I see you playing with Little Man and the joy in your heart dances right across your face. It fills my heart with even more love for you, and I know that he will grow up knowing the same wonderful man I know, only he will call you Grandad. How very lucky he is.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad!
To My Husband
How do I begin?
My love for you grows each and every day, and I want you to know this first and foremost. I see you struggling with the guilt that eats away inside you as your illness grows day by day, guilt that you cannot be the husband and father that you so desperately want to be. And it breaks my heart that this feeling even exists, because you have nothing to be guilty about.
You are the most wonderful husband I could ever have asked for, and I hope that I never forget to tell you this. You understand me like nobody else ever has, because your heart is so very like mine. You know how much love lies within my heart for everybody, and you never even blink an eye when I bring people home for tea unexpectedly or ask if we can do something for someone you’ve never even met. You know this because that same kind of love lies within your own heart, it is what binds us together. Please know that the intensity of that flame grows brighter because of you, and you deserve every ounce of love I have for you.
And just as I couldn’t have asked for a better husband, our child also has the very best father I could ever have hoped for. You’ve seen my message above, you know how big those father-shaped shoes are to fill in my mind, and yet you do so beautifully. I always knew you’d make a great father, having seen you with your nieces right from the moment I first met you, but nothing could have prepared me for the intensity of parenthood and the incredible way you stepped straight into the role of dad, despite all the difficulties we have faced getting here.
Yesterday I stood on stage to read out a poem I wrote from Little Man’s perspective. It was all about you, and I hope that it helped at least one person in the audience. But more than that, I hope that it helped you to see how much respect I have for you as you face some of the most distressing symptoms. I stood up on that stage for you, because of you, for you inspire me every day. Thank you for being my husband and my best friend, I love you!
Happy Father’s Day, TJ!