I’m not into ‘Father’s day’ – There, I said it! Nor am I into Mother’s day, Valentine Day, or any other market ploy to make me spend my hard earned cash. I’ve always believed if you could only show love and affection to the people you love on one day a year – then there was something seriously wrong.
Don’t get me wrong here, I just tear up when I recall some of the wonderful drawings and gifts my kids gave me on father’s day. The attempted breakfast in bed, where I have been forced (Normally by my wife) to eat things the dog has run away from. I still have to this day an absolutely hideous cup that my daughter made for me. Along with some of the paintings (They are collected and stored safely away). I also have a nifty little set of wooden drawers, it keeps all those little bits and pieces you leave lying around your desk. In my case – Staples, Drawing pins, Paper clips and Guitar Picks.
My Father’s days are firmly imprinted in my mind. The day I was walking up Northumberland Street, the heart of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
My two kids who would be about three and five at the time spotted me from a distance. They came tearing towards me, not caring who they bowled over and dived into my arms with Cries of ‘Daddy Daddy’ ringing in my ears. At that moment my heart swelled and almost burst from my chest. Such was the love and pride I felt at that moment in time. There is nothing can replace that feeling.
The day my daughter swallowed a penny, it stuck in her throat and she almost choked. By some magical chance, the penny turned – and although stuck in her throat, allowed her to breath. The doctors then being able to (under sedation) grip the penny and pull it out (One of those things we still keep). The sheer relief and Joy of her being alive and well – that’s a father’s day moment.
A Real Father’s Day
More recently, my son borrowed my little sports car. We’d worked on it together and I had just put four new tyres on it. He was a good driver and despite being a young man of twenty or so, was actually quite sensible. (Well most of the time)
I was in the kitchen of our house, in a rural part on the Kapiti coast. I was preparing to cut the Sunday roast. As is typical of me in summer, I was suitably dressed in boxers and T-Shirt. We were waiting for the arrival of my son Liam and his friend David for Dinner – when suddenly the front door burst open and David rushed in to the kitchen. He was distressed, tearful and blurted out – ‘Liam’s been in a car crash’ before rushing back out again.
I dashed outside and jumped into my car and followed him down the country roads, round the one way tracks – conscious that I was driving too fast and forcing myself to breathe and slow down a little. As we approached the outskirts of the town I could see the lights, and I knew what the flashing blue lights meant. I turned a corner and there was a policeman holding up the traffic.
Just beyond them was my car on its roof. It was very badly damaged and I went cold all over. I’m an ex UK traffic patrol officer. I’d seen my share of fatal accidents. I knew this was going to be bad.
I explained to the Police Officer that I was the father of the driver. He let me through. I was still in my t-shirt and undies, no shoes.
A little further up the road an ambulance was parked. Two paramedics were jumping in and out of the vehicle. There was no sign of my son. I swear I have never been so scared before or since, than I was at that moment.
One of the medics came towards me – “are you the boy’s father’? The words stuck in my dry mouth – “Yes”, I braced myself for what was coming. “He’s alive and going to be alright. He might have a couple of broken bones – and He’ll be sore tomorrow, but he’ll be fine”. I felt lighted headed and a little drunk. I was lead to the ambulance and was greeted with ‘Sorry dad’.
My wife (Who I’d abandoned and forgotten about) was just behind me. Our next door neighbour had driven her to the scene. She was distraught and obviously panicking – but once she saw things would be ok she cried with relief. Then she just wanted to be with our son and accompanied him to hospital.
That night when we got back from the hospital. We realised that he’d escaped with his life. A couple of cracked knees, due to hitting the dashboard as the car rolled were a small price to pay. What we didn’t know at the time was the car had an inbuilt roll cage – thank god! I remember I sat on the edge the bed that night and the stress of it all hit me. I cried like a baby. We nearly lost him, but we didn’t. That was my father’s day.
Every day I am alive I feel blessed to be a father. I don’t need no badges or cups. I have the memories, the experiences that I wouldn’t exchange for the world. Every day has been father’s day, but some are more special than others.