Thanks Dad

Dear Dad,

Well, here it is again, another birthday. It struck me that I knew you when you were my age, which is weird. You were always just Dad, not old like you always joked, not young, just Dad. And now Jon looks at me just as I looked at you, and suddenly I’m the Dad. Did you feel as immature and unprepared as I do? I can only hope and pray I’ve done as good a job as you did.

And, because I got into the habit, with you standing over me to make sure I did it, I’m writing a thank you letter for your gifts.

Jacqui dug out some old photos for my birthday, back from when we were kids. I never realised at the time just how poor we were. The old furniture and hand-me-down clothes. The other boys must have been so glad I was a big brother and not their sister. But it was only as an adult I realised we were poor, and only because of the photos and the stories. At the time it was all we knew, and my overriding memories are of evenings spent wrestling, we four boys against the invincible you, or playing board games, or listening to you read to us. It’s a trite saying, but it’s true nonetheless; There’s nothing more important than family, and we never missed the television or the car or the big house.

We were chatting the other day, me, the boys and the wives. Jacqui said if she didn’t know, she’d never guess we were brothers, because all four of us are so different, right up until we open our mouths. Then out comes the Simms sense of humour and it is obvious. When all four of us get together people had better get ready to laugh or run, because we show no mercy. The past is always summer, I know, but your laugh at some stupid joke or Tom and Jerry cartoon seemed to fill those days.

You laughed when I said I wanted to be a policeman, but I know you were proud when I joined up. Some of the families I saw in those days would beggar belief. There was one estate on our patch where all the problem families were dumped. It was known throughout the county as Rat Island. Families, four generations of them, would go into town for a family shoplifting spree, in the same way we would go down to the coast on a Sunday in the summer and play cricket on the sand. I would weep sometimes. How can parents purport to love their kids and then teach them that that sort of thing is acceptable?

So here I am, suddenly the wrong side of fifty and being spammed by Saga. How depressing is that? I’m having to finally admit I’m middle-aged, because I don’t know anyone more than twice my age. Next year I’ll be fifty-one, unchartered territory, with no idea of how a fifty-one-year-old dad should act. I wish you’d lived that long to give me a clue. I guess I’ll just have to rely on the gifts you left me.

So, for the sense of family, a sense of humour and a sense of what’s wrong and right, thanks Dad. They were just what I wanted. I’ll use them every day.

Your loving son

Bob

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About snodlander
Snodlander is the nom de plume of Bob Simms. He is an IT trainer, but it's not as glamourous as it sounds. When he's not enthralling classes with adventures through SQL Server, he writes, draws and drinks his own home-brew. Buy his novel on Amazon Kindle at The Young Demon Keeper, It's 74p, for crying out loud!

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