There are some moments when you just want a hug. Some moments, indeed, when you just need a hug from a specific person. Who makes you feel safe, secure, nostalgic, and important. And most importantly, who makes you feel heard and seen and held.
As though you are the only person in the world who matters or has his attention at that moment. It's no exaggeration to say that that's gold dust, and frankly, it can make your day, month, or even your week.
Cue Friends theme tune.
Even though he disapproves of your late-night work schedule and how you insist on walking home alone in the evening even though he offers to pick you up. He loves you. He continues to offer, every night you go out. Even though he hogs the TV when the cricket is on and refuses to let you talk during it because it's 'distracting' and you pout for ten minutes. Especially when he suggests taking you to a football match the next weekend for a fun weekend out in Manchester, or a trip abroad just for the banter.
How he always has your interests at heart and always wants to make your life easier. Even though you're sometimes a brat and want to do things your own way. Make your own mistakes. Not have the safety net. Like it or not – and make no mistakes, you love it – he is always there. He will always be there to catch you. It was his support during your childhood that equipped you to make the right decisions most times.
Even when you don't make the right decision, he taught you that mistakes are the best thing that can happen to us. As long as we learn to look at our mistakes in the eyes and pay attention to them rather than pretending they never happened, we can move on from them. More still, and you only realise this after having an argument and shouting at him over something silly – once you make a mistake you don't tend to make it again.
Case and point, listening to your dad's advice.
Even when you think it was wrong. Most likely it was us being silly but he was always patient.
Even when you and your sister are going at it because you're both stressed about work and need an outlet to shout at. He tends to take your side because she's shouting louder but you're using bigger words. Both equally angry, neither particularly in the right. But he manages, as always. As would become his defining characteristic.
Now that we're all grown up and he's a little older but trying his best with technology and children and the changing world around him, we still need him.
We call him and ask how he ever did it all.
How did he have it all? He worked and hustled and gave us everything that we ever needed. And a thousand more things we didn't realise we ever needed. Importantly, we never wanted for anything, and probably don't – to this day – realise all the things he facilitated for us, or made effortless.
In short, Dad – I love you.
I still go on a walk when I need to leave the flat and push your speed dial number in just as I used to push his buttons earlier. He still has the best advice and I always wonder where I'd be without him. I got my height and my feet from him – my sister got the forehead and the hairline. She claims that I got the better deal. In truth, we both more importantly inherited his compassion, thoughtfulness, and desire to do better.
We could all do with a little more of that mentality, to be perfectly honest.
I know that everyone thinks that their dad is the best thing since sliced bread. I'm sure they're not wrong, but I'm right.
So once again, if I hadn't made it abundantly clear before:
Thank you, Dad. And love you, always.
Now before I start weeping, everyone go and call your dads. You'll be better for it.