My Inspirational Dad
I’d like to nominate my Dad Simon as the most inspirational person in my life. My Mom has bipolar disorder which means her moods are erratic, she often drinks and we never really know what’s coming next. She refuses to take her medication even though 3 doctors have told her she should. Mom’s condition meant our childhood was chaotic – but my Dad was our rock – our calm in the storm – a safe haven of love and kindness.
My Dad is a round bundle of softness and love. He loves to hug us all and he still kisses me on the forehead which makes me feel safe and warm. When we were growing up Mom could be fun some days but other times she’d be yelling and screaming at us all, finding fault in everything we did, screaming and screaming totally out of control. It was horrible.
I honestly don’t know how my Dad put up with her. He always stayed calm, he always showed her love (even though he got none back) and he always took the brunt of the anger giving us the signal to slip out of the room until the storm died down.
Sometimes he’d just say “C’mon kids we’re heading out,” and bundle us all in the car and take us out for ice-cream or just to watch the ocean roll in for a while. She’d still be mad when we got back but at least we’d had a break.
Money was always tight because Mom could never hold down a job and was always spending. Dad worked long hours. Yet Dad was the one who made our sandwiches for school, came to our sport and cheered on the sidelines and sang us to sleep every night. It was Dad who taught us to drive, picked us up late at night from parties and cuddled us and dried the tears when our first boyfriends caused us pain.
Eventually Dad left her. The strain was just too much – he had huge black lines around his eyes, his smile had almost gone and he’d gained a lot of weight. It would have killed him to stay. He didn’t take any money so we Mom could keep the house – and for a while at Dad’s we didn’t have a TV or fridge. But we did have laughs, smiles and hugs. I had a week at Mom’s then a week at Dad’s. I used to scream and scream when he dropped me off at Mom’s I didn’t want to go.
The hard thing with Mom is that when she’s in a good place there’s no-one I’d rather be around. She’s all smiles and fun and laughter – it’s like a drug I guess – fun while it lasts - but you know it’s going to hurt later. As an adult I have found a place where that makes sense, and I accept her the way she is.
Dad’s also found happiness now with a new partner who loves him and treats him with the kindness he deserves. He’s still working too hard but whenever we visit he makes sure he’s there with a smile and big meal on the table.
And now I have my own life and his first Grandchild on the way. I can’t wait to see him holding my child and showing him or her the love he showed us.
Thank you Dad. You’ll always be my hero. And if we win the prize I’m taking you out on the harbour for a New Year’s Eve you’ll never forget!