Sometimes I find my myself wondering what it would be like if he was here now. I’d like to make a place for him at our table for Christmas lunch like I do for Mum and other family and friends. I’d like to serve him and make up the spare room in our home. I’d like him to see what I’ve become. I was a skinny, pimply, constantly awkward teenager when he died almost 20 years ago.
He was the father whom I knew loved me but I didn’t have a deep relationship with. He loyally picked up with sister and I for our fortnightly weekends at his place. He called us every now and then on a Wednesday night for a chat, not that I had much to talk about. He paid over and above the amount of child support required of him and would have helped out financially in any way that my Mother needed, had she asked for help.
I remember a road trip a few months before he died. It was just Dad, my half-brother, Will and I. In a small country town we were visiting, I stopped at a shop window and lovingly looked at a pair of brown leather boots. Being a poor Uni student meant I couldn’t just buy things on a whim. He noticed. He suggested I go try them on against my initial “don’t worry about it” embarrassment. He graciously, proudly bought the boots for me. A loving gesture from a man I was afraid to ask too much of.
Since he died, I’ve graduated University, been well-paid and have enjoyed the jobs I’ve had in my field of expertise. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel, buy and renovate a house, and made a life with my loving husband and our three sweet, funny, exhausting children.
He missed out on walking me down the aisle, being a guest in my home and getting to know his grandchildren.
This Christmas, look after yourself, be healthy, make the time to think about your life and do not miss an opportunity to lavish love and time on your little ones.