When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years. —Mark Twain
It is Father’s Day on Sunday here in the UK, a celebration of all the things our Fathers have done for us, and what they do for their children.
My husband I (oooh, get me! I sound like the Queen), have both lost our Dads, and this is a day where we remember them in our own quiet ways. I like to spend time in the garden by the sundial my Dad bought me. MrNige likes to keep his thoughts to himself.
Both our children are grown now and I have very fond memories of MrNige with them all through the different stages of their lives.
Learning as we went, we did the best we knew how. We, and especially he, as I battled PND and then cyclical depression, supported each other. He seems to have supported me more than I have supported him at times, although he denies this and says we are a partnership.
I have wonderful memories of him with our two children, all through their lives, and it seems that he has become more important to them the older they become, with financial advice, DIY advice, lifts and so on.
I wonder what they remember of the times he took them out for treats, or to sports events, or Cub and Scout events, or on our family holidays, of his reactions when they dropped an absolute clanger (they have both done it! neither got the reaction they feared), of his patience when trying to teach them something, of his impatience when he forgets that none of us are mind-readers and therefore know exactly what he wants us to do!
I wonder if they realise how much he misses them now they have left home? How much he looks forward to their telephone calls, the chats, the unexpected visits, the requests for help that make him feel wanted? How much he enjoyed taking them to the matches, and discussing the results afterwards? How much he misses the banter when they are all together and then the boys go their own way?
As he gets older and his hair gets greyer, and his bald patch gets bigger, I wonder if they realise they ought to make the most of him while he is still around and fit enough to do things with them? I hope so.
They have both bought him gifts this year, a CD he asked for (a first) a book to go with it, and lots of bits. He will love it. But it will be tinged with that thought – of his Father, as I think of mine, and we realise, we didn’t appreciate them while they were here.