A Letter to My Father on Father's Day

I could start this letter with a cliche like “I don’t tell you this enough, but I love you Dad”, but that isn’t as relevant to our relationship as it is to so many others.

The truth is we are very open with telling one another how much we love each other, & in this way we are very lucky. So many men struggle with expressing their feelings, especially to other men, even their sons & fathers. This has never been an obstacle for us. You have always been very open & emotionally available, very willing to show affection regardless of the situation, & this is something I have come to cherish but is something that I took for granted when I was younger simply due to not knowing it was not the norm.

Dear dad, I love You

My expectation was that all fathers were like you, warm affectionate & loving, & that all fathers offered unconditional love & support in all things, patiently answered all questions, regardless of relevance, & attentively listened & engaged with all the odd & silly concepts my young mind would dream up. It is only in adulthood that I realise this is not at all the case, & I can fully appreciate how lucky I am to have you as my father.

I know that you have lingering doubts about your priorities when I was younger. That you feel you worked too much, but I don’t remember it that way.

Sure it may have taken us what my young mind perceived as many months to build my balsa wood model aeroplane, the one with the rubber band engine & paper covered wings. The one that lay semi-constructed in the white drawing-board-dominated office of our temporary home in Duncan close. The one that inspired many nights of anticipation, watching the clock as it ticked into the early evening, & then the night ended with the dreaded ‘not tonight Sean, it’s a bit late, we will get to it soon’.

But we did build it, together, & while it may not have soared through the sky the way my young heart had childishly envisioned, the memory of those nights spent cutting wood & lacquering paper, though blurred through time, will always hold a special place in my heart.

Through long hours spent watching & listening to you I learnt the foundational skills that made me who I am today. The smoldering ember of curiosity for how the world functions that burned within me from such a young age was fanned by your own thirst for knowledge, until it burst into flame & forged the lens through which I now view the world. Your compassion for all living things & genuine selflessness in your care & concern for others has rubbed off on me & left very positive marks on my nature.

I have seen so much of you reflected in myself as I have grown older. My ability to fix almost anything, a direct inheritance, earned from long hours spent by your side tinkering with all manner of things, is an invaluable skill that I am very thankful for. The way I interact with my partner, Britten, rings loudly with the memories I have of your interactions with Mum.

That playful & silly exuberance you extrude that brightens any room is something I catch myself constantly & unintentionally replicating, & while it may have induced a few eye-rolls & groans from my too-cool-for-school teenage self, it is something I now fully appreciate & cherish. I see myself becoming just like you, & while most people fear becoming their parents, not me. I welcome it. I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather become.

Perhaps the cliche I opened with does ring true, because no matter how many times I tell you it may never be enough to convey how thankful I am for everything you have done for me, for everything you are, & for everything you have helped me become.

I don’t tell you this enough, but I love you Dad.

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