The very first man I ever loved

Every Fathers Day I smile at the countless posts I see across social media, the tributes to all of the Dads and husbands, the Dads who are loved and missed on this day, and every day. And I always consider myself lucky to not only have my Dad here with us today, but to have the best Dad that I could possibly hope for.

Because my Dad is lovely, he really is. He is kind, funny, loving, generous and a whole host of other adjectives, none of which come close to describing how wonderful he is. And for the 35 years that I have known and loved him, I have never loved him just as much as I do right here and now. Not only is he an amazing Dad, but he is the best Grandad that my children could ever have hoped for.

My Dad has been to Hell and back with me over the years. Not just through my teenage rebellion or the battle with my mental health, but through the pain of losing Joseph, the never ending worry and upset of our quest to get pregnant, the breakdown of my marriage and the constant fear that his daughter would never be truly happy.

During the depths of my depression, rather than sit at home all day alone and crying, my Dad would drag me out to work with him. Working as a lorry driver, we would drive across the country with our sandwiches wrapped in tin foil, sharing a bag of Murray mints and the radio on full blast. We rarely spoke, we didn’t need to, we were both just glad of the company. And I loved those days, cruising along on the open road, stopping off at various scenic points where my Dad would share random nuggets of information, eating our packed lunches with the sun on our faces. And on our drop-offs along the way his customers would compliment him on producing such a beautiful daughter and my dad would wink and joke, “She takes after me!” and I would roll my eyes and blush while he literally burst with pride.

When I found out that I was pregnant for the first time, my Dad was the first person I told, before I had even told my husband. And I had sat on his knee, aged twenty three, and told him that he was going to be a Grandad and he had cried with happiness. Three months later when we lost that baby I could see that it absolutely destroyed him to see me going through such heartache, and so a few months later when we were able to share the news that I was pregnant again, I shall never forget the look of joy on his face.

When Lewis was born my Dad had dropped everything at work, sped over to the hospital and was there before Lewis was even thirty minutes old. And he loved him, more than I could ever have imagined that he would, and right there and then I realised that this was the best gift that I would ever give to him.

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And two years later, when we had lost Joseph and I returned home with empty arms, my Dad hadn’t needed to say a word. He had just hugged me, held me as I cried and stifled his own sadness as he told me that it would all be okay. We named him Joseph Allan, after my Dad, and I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect name for our special little boy.

During my divorce he never once passed judgement, never told me what to do or pointed out the mistakes that we had made. He had just been there, as he had always been. And he hadn’t been full of words of wisdom, that’s not like my dad at all, but he had never questioned my reasons, never pried or got involved, and I loved him for that. And at the end of it when the divorce was final he had hugged me and once again, he had told me that it would all be okay.

When Gaz came along my Dad was over the moon, “Finally someone stupid enough to take you off our hands!” he had joked. And yet when Gaz had asked him for my hand in marriage, my Dad had choked back his tears and told him that he had his blessing a thousand times over. When we announced that I was pregnant with Eva I had seen the look of fear behind his smile, for as hard as it had been for me to go through another pregnancy after losing Joseph, it had been equally hard for my parents. And so when she arrived, safe and well, and I had rang to share our news, I thought that he might actually explode with happiness. And fifteen minutes later when he was at the hospital holding her for the very first time, it had been one of my proudest moments of all time.

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Twelve weeks later, on my wedding day he had come to my room as I was finishing getting ready and he told me that I looked so beautiful, that there had never been a bride quite as lovely as I. And as he walked me down the aisle, again, I wanted to freeze that moment in time and treasure it forever. My lovely, lovely Dad, the proudest man on earth.

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When we discovered that I was pregnant with Megan and had such mixed reactions from others, my Dad was jumping for joy. He told us that it was the best news he had ever heard, that he thought it would be wonderful for us all and that he was certain that we would have another little girl. And when she was born and I saw him with Lewis, Eva and Megan, I felt as though I had finally paid him back for every last moment of worry I had ever caused him.

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And when we had finally plucked up the nerve to tell my parents that I was pregnant, AGAIN, just a few months later, he had told us that it was wonderful news. Not for one minute did he question our choices, tell us that we were foolish or ask us what on earth we had been thinking. His only concern had ever been, “How on earth will I fit them all on my knee?”.

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And being a Grandad came so naturally to my Dad. As a child growing up my Dad had worked Monday to Friday and, like most working parents, he had missed out on that time with my brother and I. With the Grandchildren my Dad has been there every step of the way. He has witnessed their first steps, first words and major milestones. He has been there every Christmas morning, every birthday as they blew out their candles and seen the look on their faces as they opened their presents. He taught Lewis to ride a bike, Eva to count to ten, Megan to learn her colours and Harry to clap his hands.

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And the patience that he has displayed as a Grandparent puts me to shame. He used to sit with Lewis for hours drawing and colouring and inventing games for them to play. He humours Eva’s incessant need to ask the same questions on repeat, Megan’s demands to play the same games back to back and Harry’s persistent mission to throw himself off the couch. He cycles for miles with Lewis, even when his legs are aching and he’s ready for a sit down, chases the girls around the garden despite being full of a cold or gasping for a brew. He sacrifices his favourite TV shows so that the children can watch yet another episode of Peppa Pig, shares his food, his drink, his liquorice allsorts, sits on the floor when the girls have claimed his chair, crawls up and down the living room when they insist that he is a donkey, a lion, a dinosaur. He’s been scratched, squashed, trampled and jumped on and yet he loves it. He absolutely loves it.

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And there is nothing that my Dad can’t do. DIY? He’s your man! Car trouble? He’ll know what to do. Gardening, painting, roofing, building? Hell give it his best shot. And we don’t talk about the time that he hit a nail right through the mains water pipe on the landing, or the time that he dropped a tin of red paint down the stairs. We don’t mention how he cut through our telephone line whilst digging in our garden or the time he chopped down our beautiful blossom tree just because he fancied making a bird table out of the trunk. It’s best to simply gloss over those small lapses of judgement and focus on his successes!!

My Dad has simple tastes and needs. This is a man, aged sixty six, who has never eaten pasta. Or rice. Or even a burger. He hasn’t tried Indian, Chinese, Mexican. He hasn’t tasted a pizza, sea food….a potato waffle. And why? Because, and I quote, he doesn’t like the look of it! If he could eat a Sunday roast every day of the week he would be happy. Despite the many weeks that my parents spend abroad, my Dad will always manage to hunt down the nearest English cafe, order a full English and that’s him sorted for the rest of the holiday. And while my Mum despairs of him as he gags at the sight of melted cheese, I find it hilarious. He likes what he likes, it’s as simple as that.

My Dad isn’t a big talker, not when it comes to the important stuff. He can talk for hours about football, about cars and Formula One, but when it comes to the serious stuff, his silence speaks volumes. His wedding speech was completely adlibbed, just a couple of minutes long (including the most inappropriate joke about having given the same speech once before) and yet he doesn’t need to make public declarations for me to know that we are his entire world. Every single day he tells me that he loves me, always says goodbye with a kiss and a, “Love you babe” and I have felt so loved and so protected by him my whole life.

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In 2012 whilst pregnant with Eva, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. And where as most peoples concerns would be for themselves, their health and their own worries, my Dads biggest concern was for me, how I would cope with the news and the effect that it would have on an already high-risk pregnancy. So concerned was he that despite having to undergo major surgery, he asked my Mum whether they could just “not tell me” and hatched a plan that whenever I saw him in the weeks following his surgery that he would “just wear a scarf”. And thank God he was very lucky, he was given the all clear and we were spared the unthinkable. But I think that it shook us all, it changed the way that we look at life, at how much we take forgranted and what is really important.

And its a sad fact of life that we are all getting older and time is passing us by. And one day, hopefully a long time from now, I will have to face the reality that nothing lasts forever. But for now, I cherish every single moment. I watch with pride at the amazing Grandad that my Dad has become, respect and admire the husband who for forty one years has committed to my Mum through thick and thin, and enjoy every single minute with my funny, clumsy, lovely, crazy Dad.

Because there is no love quite like that between a Father and Daughter, the very first man I ever loved.

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40 Comments

  1. Amy Tallis
    June 21, 2015 / 7:36 pm

    Has your Dad read this Laura. He must be so proud of you x

  2. Amy Tallis
    June 21, 2015 / 7:39 pm

    Has your Dad read this Laura? He must be so proud of you x

    • June 21, 2015 / 7:54 pm

      No Amy, going to show it to him tomorrow. I shall provide tissues!! Xxx

  3. Rosie
    June 21, 2015 / 7:44 pm

    Tears streaming down my face. So so true. Nothing like the love a Father & Daughter share. Hope he gets to read this. xxx

    • June 21, 2015 / 7:53 pm

      I shall show it to him tomorrow but I already know his reaction!! “Why’ve you put photos of me looking like that on the Internet!!!” 😂 xxx

  4. Hazel Owens
    July 2, 2015 / 8:46 pm

    That was lovely, gave me happy tears.

  5. October 4, 2015 / 12:32 pm

    This is beautiful. Your dad sounds like an amazing man and you and your children are so lucky to have in your lives 🙂
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes
    Debbie

    • October 5, 2015 / 9:51 am

      Thanks Debbie, he really is. We are very lucky, and for my Mum too. Thank god for parents hey? xx

  6. December 30, 2015 / 8:37 am

    What a gem of a Dad you have. I think it’s beautiful that you written such a heart-felt post to tell him (and the world) how much he means to you. I can completely understand where you are coming from, my Dad (and my Mum) both mean the world to me. They are the people above all else that you can count on in this world. They will always have your back and know what to say (or what not to, perhaps). Thanks for sharing your lovely words.

    Sally @ Life Loving
    #LifeLovingLinkie

    • December 30, 2015 / 8:47 am

      Thanks Sally! My parents are amazing, although certainly not perfect, and we honestly would be lost without them. I consider myself very lucky indeed! I’m so glad that you have the same with your parents. ❤️xxx

  7. min1980
    February 13, 2016 / 1:05 pm

    What a lovely post. He must be chuffed to bits to read this. #justanotherlinky

    • February 13, 2016 / 1:37 pm

      Thank you. He’s the best. 💙 Thanks for reading. Xx

  8. February 13, 2016 / 3:59 pm

    If the only thing I accomplish in my life is to have my daughter one day write something like this about me, I will consider it a success.

    • February 13, 2016 / 4:05 pm

      Aww and I am sure that they will. Thank you for reading. xx

  9. February 19, 2016 / 1:49 pm

    This really is beautiful. Your dad sounds like an amazing man! Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

    • February 19, 2016 / 8:46 pm

      Thank you, he’s the best. Xx

  10. April 19, 2016 / 7:18 pm

    Enjoyed reading that. A really touching post of your relationship with your dad. And he does look like a great granddad too. Your kids are lucky to have him 🙂

    • April 19, 2016 / 7:23 pm

      Thank you! He’s the best, although he would hate me telling everyone that, he hates a fuss!! xx

  11. April 19, 2016 / 8:18 pm

    Such a lovrly post I better dad is so proud of u.

    • April 19, 2016 / 8:41 pm

      Thank you, I hope so. xx

  12. April 20, 2016 / 8:22 am

    He sounds like a wonderful man, there really is nothing like supportive parents

  13. April 20, 2016 / 10:30 am

    This is so adorable. He sounds like a brilliant Dad. You are extremely lucky to have such an amazing man in your life.

    • April 20, 2016 / 10:34 am

      Thank you. I am very lucky, hopefully for a long, long time yet too. Xx

  14. April 20, 2016 / 1:53 pm

    He sounds like an absolutely amazing man and you are one very lucky lady x

    • April 20, 2016 / 6:46 pm

      Thank you, I really am. xx

  15. April 20, 2016 / 4:09 pm

    I could feel the bond between you two nestled between the words that you poured onto the page. It was real and it was a testament to how much you love each other. He sounds like the most amazing dad and grandad in the world and you should be so proud to have such an incredible man in your life x

    • April 20, 2016 / 6:45 pm

      Thank you, I am so proud of him. He’s just a normal, regular man but to us he is everything. xx

  16. April 21, 2016 / 8:55 am

    This is such a beautiful post and your Dad looks and sounds like such a kind-hearted man. I wish I had a relationship like this with my own Dad. The relationship between you two is parenting goals for sure x

    • April 21, 2016 / 8:21 pm

      Thank you. I’m sorry that you don’t have that relationship with your Dad, I know so many who don’t. Xx

  17. April 21, 2016 / 2:29 pm

    Your Dad sounds amazing. Every girl should have a man like this in their lives.

    • April 21, 2016 / 8:16 pm

      Thank you, it saddens me to think that many don’t. I have been so fortunate to have two wonderful parents, I wish that we could all grow up with that kind of love and security. Thank you for reading. Xx

  18. April 21, 2016 / 8:04 pm

    This is so lovely how very blessed you all are, the world could.certainly do with more people like your dad. :). Marie

    • April 21, 2016 / 8:09 pm

      Thanks Marie. I’ve been so lucky to grow up with two wonderful parents, if I can do the same for my four then I’ll have succeeded in life. Xx

  19. April 22, 2016 / 3:27 pm

    Wow this is beautiful Laura!! Your dad sounds amazing!! I’m in tears right now after reading this!! So emotional!! You are a lucky girl for having a man like this in your life!! I can see that you both have a special relationship which is lovely. I’m pleased to hear that he was given the all clear!! That is a blessing!! 🙂 xx

    • April 22, 2016 / 3:31 pm

      Ahh thank you. He means everything to us, it was a difficult time when he was poorly and the worry never fully leaves you. I know that we are very lucky and we don’t take that forgranted, it could have been a very different story. Thanks for reading. xxx

  20. April 22, 2016 / 6:44 pm

    This is just the most lovely post, made me think of my dad who’s an absolute legend too! I think if a girl has a good father then she’s got a soul mate, whatever happens with other relationships xx

    • April 22, 2016 / 7:11 pm

      You’re so right there. Having a strong male role model is so important growing up, my Dad taught me never to settle for anything less than the best and I think for that reason I chose (albeit second time around) the perfect husband and father for my own children. I’m so glad you have that too. xx

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