I have distinct memories of hitting the slopes (with skis and face) as a youngster; my Dad clipping Edgy-Wedgies onto my stubby skis, guiding me down the runs, and feeding me frozen Cherry Ripes when I got irritable (which was often). He would carve a path down the mountain and my sister and I would follow unquestioningly because, as with everything else, we put utmost faith in his judgement.
It was my Dad’s birthday yesterday, and I’m sure he fielded the usual slew of “Getting a bit long in the tooth, Cheesey!” jokes from his colleagues (dentists, ugh). I wish I could have been there to celebrate with him, because there are very few occasions when he is receptive to sappy displays of affection, and I don’t tell him enough how much he means to me.
My Dad is the most considerate guy I know. He is always the one filling everyone else’s glasses, manning the BBQ, pulling out weeds from the sidewalk, stacking plates for waitstaff and cleaning the office block bathrooms. There is no sense of ‘this isn’t my job’; if he sees something that needs to be done, he’ll do it. I had no conception of ‘Me Time’ until I started reading magazines; either side of hectic work days my parents operate with an ongoing ‘To Do’ list of household chores, gardening and catering to my sister and me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my Dad put his feet up…not even when he broke both (and his arm) falling off the balcony stringing Christmas lights up one year.
When asked how he is, my Dad’s standard response of “A bit weary!” is said with jocular melodrama, and always a springboard for some amusing anecdote or list of things he’s accomplished during the day or plans to tackle next. He never wallows, nor does he hold a grudge; his sunny disposition stems not from blitheness, but because he chooses to make the best of things.
After any party I have at home, or college event where I get to show him off, I inevitably spend the next few days passing on messages from my friends about how funny he is, how good-natured he is…and how much cooler than me he is (it’s true). He often has us in peals of laughter with his impressions, lame jokes and stories about his Ginger Meggs school days of stuffing jam and raisin sandwiches into the petrol caps of authoritarian teachers’ cars.
On that note, intriguing sandwich fillings were actually a bit of a theme of my childhood; my Dad made my school lunch every day for 13 years (I know!) and put together some interesting combinations like peanut butter and lettuce, jam and cheese, tomato and Vegemite…which are all actually amazing together. Just more evidence of his fatherly wisdom.
Happy Birthday Dad! x