Today is my Dad’s birthday.
It’s been a little while since I have posted (since my I-WILL-POST-EVERY-DAY steam ran out after 2 weeks) and I couldn’t think of a better person to kick start and re-ignite the writing of this blog, since my dad has always been one of the loudest and most encouraging fans of any creative pursuit of mine.
My Dad is a pretty cool guy (even though he has his EXTREME dad moments). He’s artsy and creative, he sculpts and draws. He was a male model back in the day and even dated the famous actress Emma Thompson when he lived in London. (True story, I think she was at Cambridge at the time, once in our garage I was going through boxes and found a playbill from the Cambridge footlights group and it was signed by Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry and Miss Thompson).
My Dad loves the outdoors. He once went trekking in Tasmania in the hills and brought back 5 little wooden figurines that he had carved from his walking stick. I still have mine…somewhere.
He is spiritual – that has transferred to me. Even though I always diss him (in a loving way) I think that his interest in Buddhism and meditation is great.
Both my parents have moved around like gypsy’s, but it was Dad’s job as an Architect and Project Manager that kept us moving when I was younger. His love of living overseas has transferred to me now, and I continue to move around and pick up and put down new roots.
Dad’s love of sports was passed down from his dad, to me. We used to go and kick the soccer ball around in the park, or play tennis. When I was younger I would Caddy for him on Sundays and I thought it was a pretty sweet deal. I’d get paid $5.00AUD for the whole morning AND I’d get a mars bar AND a coke if I was lucky. It was just Dad and I, and his golfing buddies. Those were the richest weekends of my LIFE. I wonder what I ended up doing with those crisp purple plastic notes. It didn’t matter about the money though, because I was being included in grown-up time.
In my middle school and High school years, Dad would come along to support just about anything I did. He’d come to waterpolo games, Indoor Hockey, Netball, Softball, Soccer, Basketball. It didn’t matter what the sport was, Dad was ALWAYS on the side, red-faced, yelling encouragement, giving tips. I remember going to watch HIM play waterpolo and Hockey. Dad was always the trimmest and fastest out of his wheezing, less fit friends.
Dad was always super proud of all my other, non-sporting achievements too. We haven’t lived in the same city in years, and yet he still makes an effort to come over to wherever I am for the big moments. He came to Sydney for my Undergrad graduation. He came to to see me at my College for our final parents weekend where I was presented with a huge bunch of flowers and a cheque for contributions to College arts and community. This year he even flew over to Sydney to see my first full length play at the Sydney Fringe Festival.
The sad reality of growing up is that you realize your parents are actually HUMAN and not these mythical beasts that can do no wrong and can protect you from every fear and monster that lives under the bed.
You acknowledge that they aren’t perfect and that as parents, they winged it just as much as we will. It’s weird to see friends of mine starting families and realizing that my parents had a life outside of me.
But I think it makes you appreciate them more. You can have adult conversations that you never thought you’d have with the people who raised you. You realize that a lot of your beliefs and understanding of the world has come from how they guided you.
In my case, I’m lucky to have had such well-educated, well-travelled, interesting parents who set me up (hopefully) for a life of working-hard and reaping the benefits.
Happy Birthday Dad.
And thanks for everything