Dad.

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It’s time, it’s passed time, I’m not ready, but it’s time. It’s time to give you back to the place that you adored. The place where the wind carried your first laugh. Where life-long friendships were forged in the heat of long summer days. The place where our bond was sealed in the early morning haze. You gave me my childhood in the best place you knew – The place where yours was given to you. We would walk, talk, play footie and I would take home the same dirt on my knees as you did as a child – this was my time to be free and run wild.

At a time when my childhood moments were fleeting if I hadn’t have had you I could have happily stopped breathing. But, you filled my lungs with fresh air, my head with wonders now lost to time, my belly with chips and laughter, my clothes with grass stains and grime.

We would still walk the dogs here as I grew although getting me out of bed wasn’t as easy for you. But your bribe of a full English would eventually pay off, raising Frankenstein’s teenage monster ‘Bloody hell Dad it’s only six o clock!’ Out for hours and home for 10 a weekly cease fire before the teenage abuse would begin again. Our weekly slot in which we would talk, well, shuffle around subjects of boys and the sort.

Don’t get me wrong you didn’t deal with boys well, punching the first lad who dared to darken the door-well. Mum going mad and tryin’a say sorry, you unrepentant, me going barmy. ’I’m telling you Shelly that boy is a dosser!’ I stand here corrected, you were right he was a Tosser…

I can imagine you laughing as I write this today remembering as I do the things that I’m sayin’. I took you for granted as teenagers do, never missing the chance to shout ‘I hate you’. Once we managed to go six months without speaking… you called every day – your resolve to resolve forever un-fleeting.

That was a time that put our bond to the test but no distance or fighting would make me forget those mornings we spent in the dewy summer haze, I just wish we hadn’t wasted those days. Lost to pride, stubbornness and the inability to lose, all qualities you can thank yourself for after all -I got them from you. You see we’re not so different really you and me, but they do say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I carry you with me in my adoration of good words, you’re in the music that I love and the best jokes that I’ve heard. You are the face of Eva when she’s giving everybody lip, you’re at the heart of Lexie when she makes a witty quip. Your girls miss you so much you’re still in their heads, Lexie still wears one of your T-shirts to bed. We all miss you so much and we hope that you’d be proud of the life that we’ve rebuilt since you haven’t been around.

No, I haven’t given up smoking and I’m still crap at DIY, don’t worry though I’m on it, I’ve got ‘No More Nails’ haven’t I! I remember when you helped me move and went to pack the mirror ‘Shelly it’s glued to the ‘effin wall!’, you looked around and saw them all – pictures! Pictures! Everywhere! Not a nail in sight  ‘Shelly what have you been using? What is this white shite?’  ‘No More Nails Dad’ I proudly declared.  Sarcastically you looked at me ‘oh well then that’s alright!’

You always put me first no matter what was going on, when I gave birth you were the first to ask ME how I was. I was always your priority and that was plain to see. It wasn’t always wise words, or grand gestures of your love…most of the time it was eggs and bacon in endless supply, God knows why….but I miss it now it’s gone.

I know you used to worry about me all the time, but I would want you to know that I am doing fine. I’m going back to Uni, second time around. I promise you this time’s a charm I want to make you proud. I’m trying to be the parent that meant so much to me. I want my girls to feel the love that you have given me. Although just like you I shout a lot and stress about the mess, they know I love them dearly and that I’m trying to do my best.

Sometimes my mouth falls open and you come tumbling out and finally I understand what you used to stress about. All you ever wanted was the very best for me and I didn’t make it easy for you to ‘let me be’. I kicked and screamed my way through every lesson taught – never being honest until I had been caught. I stand here with that fear – the one I gave to you. I want my girls to understand the world the way I learned from you.

You have given me much more than I have ever consciously acknowledged. A strength of heart and character that I couldn’t have lived without. In times where I’ve felt hopeless your voice has talked to me, inspiring me to carry on, to be happy, kind and free.

So before it’s time to draw a line and finally set you free, I wanted you to have the chance to hear the truth from me. I love you so much more than any word has honed, my understated hero, my heart, my soul, my backbone.

It’s time, it’s passed time. I’m ready now – it’s time. So, here it goes it’s finally time to let you go, back to the dust – it’s time to let it settle. But please know this, every time I walk with my girls I will walk with you, and you will walk with me, and that is the way it will always be.

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