It feels strange even calling you that. It feels like a word that is so precious. When I hear my girl say it to P it fills my heart with joy. He adores her. He cherishes her in a way that only a dad can. He would lay down his life for her without even blinking. She can do no wrong. Even when she gets mad at him for not washing up, or putting his clothes away or leaving his racing papers everywhere he lets her have a moan up and then makes her laugh. She knows that he tries to be the best dad he can but more importantly she feels loved. And in return even in her grumpy moments she adores him. And when they laugh together it is like magic. I can picture him building snowmen with her, running along behind her holding her bike, carrying her on his shoulders on the way to the swings, singing her to sleep when she was a baby after coming home worn out from work in the early hours but knowing that only his soothing voice was enough to send her to dreams, running into the hospital with her in his arms when she struggled to breathe. Being at every assembly, every show, every party. He earns the word dad every day that he wakes up. He is everything I would have wanted and you should have been. And he will never stop being that until he takes his last breath. He knows how proud I am that he is the dad to our girl.
How lucky she is.
If I got one thing right in life it was that.
She feels loved. It doesn’t cost one single penny but it is worth everything.
You hurt me more than I could ever put into words. I loved you like a puppy. Sitting by your side and being ignored. An irritation to your world. Sitting there looking for the tiniest bit of affection but only finding disapproval.
Trying so hard not to be clumsy and careless in all my dreaminess which was squashed by fear of you shouting at me and feeling the back of your hand.
Why did I always forget to put my slippers on. I always tried to remember and yet I was caught in chats with Jerry lying on my bed and I’d just forget. Slipping down those stairs in my Snow White socks (the ones Santa gave me for Christmas and were my favourites) wash and wear, wash and wear until they had holes.
But the fall on those stairs never hurt as much as the pain that greeted me at the bottom.
Do you remember when I was little, that time I played that song when you came home from work. i never forgot it. Daddy’s home by Cliff Richard. I waited by the stereo when I got home from school. I was little and I wasn’t allowed to touch it. But I put the record on and waited for you to come in from work so I could play that song for you. As you came through the door I put it on. In my excitement I dropped the needle a little clumsily on the record. You shouted at me and told me I was an idiot and when I cried you said you would give me something to cry about. You told me never to touch it again. I never did I was too scared. And when you left you took it with you.
Why were you always so angry and unforgiving? What made you that way?
I’ve always hated being angry. In case I was made like you.
But I’m nothing like you and you are nothing like me.
And yet I was your favourite. Was it because I loved you so much anyways. Whatever you did I would still come back and sit by your side thinking that if I loved you enough you would love me back.
What I didn’t realise is that you weren’t capable of love. You didn’t know how to show it.
To the outside world you were this man that everyone wanted to be around. Charming and
Generous. Surrounding yourself with vacuous and superficial people whilst my mum was working her socks off and living on hand me downs from relatives that saw her beauty.
Wow… what did she see in you. When I think of who she was and is I find it staggering that she gave you a second glance.
Gran knew. You were hers so she loved you but she knew my mum was way to good for you. And she looked out for me. Gave me everything that you were unable to. Loved me so much and saw me for all I was. I think she made it her mission to make me feel treasured.
She loved you too and yet she was also an inconvenience.
Was it too painful to see what you didn’t have? That all the money you have has never been able to buy.
You were always going to run off with some bird that made you look good. Always trading in for the younger and younger and younger model. They were never quite enough to take away all your insecurities of not being enough. That feels sad.
For all your worldwide travels, dinner parties and affluent friends your only real friend was your little dog. I heard how much you cried when she died.
In her eyes I guess you were enough. Im glad that you had that.
But for me you were not. Your lies, your deceit, your constant criticisms and making me feel small and useless were not what a dad should be. The careless way you used your hands in anger. Those red marks and bruises healed but left the scars of being scared to get things wrong. Never taking a risk for fear of messing up.
How can i love someone who scared me, hurt me and made me feel worthless.
But you don’t anymore You have missed out in every way in the beauty of what sat right next to you. It was an original that can never be replaced.
Never fighting for something that had such value.
Not worth your time or effort to fix what you had broken and in doing that making me feel like I was.
But I wasn’t broken. You were. And I wonder if deep down inside you know it. You let me slip through your fingers in not being able to say I’m sorry for being a rubbish dad to you. I would have forgiven you if you had tried.
I used to wonder if you thought about me, if it made you sad, if you had regrets for the way you were. If you wondered who I was now and what I was doing. If you realised that you had lost a treasure that couldn’t be replaced.
But now I don’t. I don’t need you anymore. Your love is no longer required by me. I have learnt to love myself in all its good and bad. I love to dream when you told me not to. To show my fear, my hurt, my sadness, and my anger. I know how to show those things in a way that is healthy and won’t hurt others. I never want to hurt others.
I am out in the world and you are my dad. The only one I will ever have and for that very fact I will always love you. And that feels wonderful to be able to say. Because I can love you without needing the same back.
And that’s not meant to hurt you. Its just to say that I’m finally ok.