Never mind. My loving family would be in the hall to meet me. Jane with a cup of tea and a slice of toast, two of my three lovely children with beaming smiles and ‘Best-Dad-Ever presents.’ And somehow Tom would have arranged a special delivery from Cambridge, cajoling Yodel to deliver a case of amusing Shiraz on a Sunday morning.
They were all still asleep.
I scanned the hall.
And nothing from Tom.
Ah well. I hadn’t been expecting much… Ben’s been busy with his AS levels. Jessica only got back yesterday. And Tom… let’s just say my eldest son is always a challenge. My wife will no doubt have trodden the same path I did in March.
Tom, don’t forget it’s Mother’s Day on March 6th. Get something in the post to your Mum.
Tom, this is text #4,904. Or it feels like it. Mother’s Day. Sunday. Post. Now
I finally got the message through – but it was a damn close run thing.
Father’s Day has always clashed with the end of exams. For some years now parties have taken precedence…
But not even a card from Tom. Where was my annual reminder of senility and impending incontinence?
I had a shower. Started work on the blog. Finally there was movement upstairs. It was Ben. And bearing gifts. Bearing a lot of gifts…
“Happy Father’s Day, Dad.”
“Thanks, darling. What’s all this? Are these really from Mum?”
“No. She said I was old enough to sort it out myself. So I did.” I looked at the pile. His wife’s going to be a very lucky woman…
A flask. A mug to keep my coffee warm. An OS map. Clearly the Pennine Way loomed large in my son’s mind as well. “And one more, Dad.”
It was a pen. You want to make a writer happy? Give him a pen or a notebook every time. ‘My luxury? Unlimited notebooks and pens, Kirsty. Nice pens, though. Like my son gave me on Father’s Day.’
Then Jessica summoned me to her room.
“There’s a present there for you,” she said. “And a card.” Understated as ever. Another pen. A Scheaffer and a Parker in one day. My inkwell ranneth over. “And I sent you an e-mail.”
“An e-mail? What about? I’m here next to you. You can tell me.”
“No, I sent you an e-mail. Go and read it.”
There it was. No. 3,153. Memo to self: find ‘delete’ button…
‘Happy Father’s Day,’ it said. Oh cripes. An e-card. How will I convince her I like it?
It wasn’t an e-card. It was a letter, from my daughter to her Dad. 1,137 words about our relationship. How I’d helped her: how I’d supported her. Was there a tear in my eye? No, there were floods of them. Dripping onto my keyboard.
Here’s an extract…
Looking back I know you were protective because of how much you cared, and I value that so much now. Things could have been handled differently but honestly I wouldn’t change a thing. For me, hating you for a couple of years has made it easier now to love you again, and to accept you for the loving, caring father that you are.
And then the phone rang. Tom. We chatted for ages. We even managed to talk about the Referendum without falling out.
“Happy Father’s Day, Dad,” he said.
“Thanks, son,” I replied.
Thank you, all three of you. For proving me so wrong…
Thanks for reading this post. If you enjoyed it – and you’d like something light and “very, very funny” to read – you can buy the ‘Best Dad I Can Be’ sample book with 27 of my favourite posts covering all the years I’ve been writing: it’s all of 99p on your Kindle. Alternatively the first chronological book, ‘Half Dad Half Fish’ which covers the time when the children were 9, 7 and 4 is available here.