Saturday, 20 June 2015

The Journey is Life




My Dad drives a taxi and now and again I receive messages from friends who still live in my hometown to say that they were chatting to him as he drove them home after their night out. ‘What a legend’, they’ll say to me. I’ll agree. He is.

When I was young I disliked going to sleep because I was sure that all of life’s most exciting things happened after 9pm. Many nights my Dad would sit beside my bed and read aloud while lazily stroking my hair in an attempt to send me off to sleep. I learned two lessons from this. Firstly, I learned the importance of sleep from him. Now I’m one of those annoying people who will nod off at the drop of a hat, anywhere, anyplace. Just try to keep me awake on a bus. It’s an impossible feat. He is the same although, mercifully, unlike him I don’t snore (or fart) so loudly that I get a fright and wake myself up shouting ‘Ay?! Ay?! What was that? Who’s there?’
The second lesson I learned from our night-time ritual was the power and enjoyment to be found in reading. It has served me well. Whole worlds were opened up to me by a father who invited me to join him in adventures on those pages.
As I got older and transformed into a giggly teenager my Dad was full of sage, if a little innuendo-filled, advice such as;
‘Kylie, there’s a real knack to dunking biscuits in your tea. You’ve got to get it in and get it out quickly before it gets soft.’
And;

‘Alcohol is a social lubricant. It makes everything slide more easily.’
These nuggets of wisdom were usually dispensed when he had an audience of my friends around him.

During that self-conscious teenage phase I fought against the fact that my Dad has imparted to me an undying love of country music and sadly, his complete lack of any musical ability. Thankfully, along with these traits, he’s also passed on to me his inability to care much about any musical shortcomings, so I sing loudly and often, to Ryan’s despair.
 




My Dad surrounded by his brood. P.S neither of the photos in this post were taken in 2005. I don't know why it says that and I don't have the time, inclination or ability to Photoshop it out.

He has never adhered to the stereotype of the overbearing father. I’m his fourth daughter so I guess that he’d seen all of the teenage girl drama before and knew that mostly things turn out all right in the end. Amid a sea of oestrogen my Dad was the anchor keeping the boat from being overturned. Not much phases him and as a result he has always made me feel that I was smart enough to make good choices about my life without his interference. Whether I was is debateable however.....
On the occasions that my boyfriends were nervously brought home they were never interrogated, rather just warmly welcomed. My clothing choices or social activities were never questioned by him so I don’t recall one incident during my teenage years where I felt the need to hide anything or rebel. He only ever encouraged me to be all that I could be, to do all that I could do and to have as much fun as was humanly possible in the process.
Just as I was about to begin University, my Dad advised me to get rid of my deadbeat boyfriend because I wouldn’t want to hamper the experience of my lifetime and limit the people that I could meet. I’m glad I heeded this piece of advice because three weeks after the deadbeat was ditched, I met my future husband. I have a small suspicion that my Dad is psychic as well as wise.
It’s nigh on impossible to embarrass my Dad. I’m grateful that this is another way I’m following in his footsteps. I don’t know the meaning of the word. When visiting my parents the other week, I made a joke about my Dad’s entirely green outfit. He replied, unfazed.
‘Thanks. It’s my leprechaun outfit. When I wear my red trousers I wear my red shoes. I’ve got shoes for almost every outfit.’
Well that was me told.

He has a particular style, does my Dad. He wears the best knitted jumpers in the winter. Many of them disappear from his closet into mine because there is little I love more than a cosy jumper. He tops all this off with a battered brown leather jacket and a checked bonnet. This makes him look a little bit like Del Boy, the king of unself-conscious 'Dad-cool'. The resemblance between the two (note the first photo) is one of the longest running jokes in our family. My Dad accepts the mickey taking gracefully.
On the same visit as the leprechaun outfit made an appearance, we discussed my panic about my thirties looming on the horizon. I'm worried that my achievements are not as significant as they should be, that my catalogue of bad decisions is getting decidedly larger and that I’ll never amount to anything. He listened carefully to these concerns and then replied.
‘I learned a long time ago that not much of that matters. If you have enough money to do the things you enjoy doing, that’s all there is to it. If you change your mind, you change your mind. The journey is life. Don’t get too hung up on the destination’.
Happy Father’s Day Daddy. Thanks for all the solid advice. I’ve listened to some of it but I’ve probably disregarded a bigger portion. I don’t reckon you’ll be too annoyed about that because the most important lesson you’ve taught me is that I shouldn’t pay too much attention to what other people think, no matter who they are.
Keep enjoying the journey (and keep rocking the leprechaun outfit).
Kisses, Kylie

 

2 comments:

  1. You've made me well up, Kylie! This is such a wonderful post. It's so lovely to hear about all of the little personality traits and habits which you know and love about your dad. Your dad sounds like a right character and a lot of fun.

    Dads are bloody marvellous, aren't they? They definitely deserve a blog post dedicated to them now and again.

    x

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    1. Aw thanks Charlene! I didn't mean to make you cry! Yes, he is a lot of fun so I'm glad I've been able to convey that in this post.

      Yes, Dads are bloody marvellous. I'm a total daddy's girl or as my Mum calls me 'a wee crawler' so I'm sure they won't by surprised by this post ha! My Dad will probably wonder what I'm after!

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