Last year around Father’s Day, I wrote my column all about how amazing my father was and how deeply he inspired me to be the best person I could be, how years after hepassed away, when I was just 14, people would tell me stories of how he helped them and changed their lives.
Stories of how when people were really in bad financial situations he stepped up, how he had time for everyone, and how much everyone missed him when he died at the young age of 49. It seemed that if it were possible, all the traits people most admire in others my father possessed.
But this year I wanted to pay tribute to another incredible father, my husband Anton. I think it is safe to say he might have been ready for parenthood before I was. He always had it in his mind he wanted a family. So when we found out we were expecting our daughter Joan, our lives seemed to instantly get brighter, happier, and fuller.
From the moment she arrived, he was attached to her. He was actually the first one to hold her and be with her in those first few hours and I think that only strengthened their bond.
As she grew and got older, that bond grew and grew as well. She would always be sad when he left for work and always be at the window waiting for him to come home, and she still is the same way at the age of 9. When he was in a room she always looked for him and would run to him. She wanted to be held by him or be on his shoulders.
When I was in my 20s I got to spend a lot of time helping and minding two cousins of mine which put me at a distinct advantage when it came to changing nappies, feeding, and getting a wriggly baby dressed. I was so fortunate to have had this experience that only helped me know how to care for my own child. But in my husband’s case, Joan was the first little person he had ever cared for and he took to it instantly.
He always recalls the moment he realised parenting was going to be a challenging, but rewarding experience. We hadn’t even left the Rotunda and here members “shaking and sweating” changing Joan’s first nappy when she was just over 5lbs. He had a fear of harming her because she was unbelievably tiny and seemed fragile, on top of the fact that he had never done it before.
Needless to say he aced it and many more poopy nappies after. Plus he aced comforting her, making her giggle, teaching her her first words and helping her learn to walk. Encouraging her to become the wonderful little person she is today.
He is incredibly kind and she has his kindness. He has a huge capacity for empathy and she has this too. She also also has his eyes, his hands, and his sense of humour.
I could go on and on but I think however it is best at this point to hand this column over to my daughter, Joan.
“I miss him during the week when he is at work. He tickles me until I laugh so hard I get dizzy. He is very huggable and cuddly. He takes me on long bike rides. He helps me with homework. He makes me my favourite dinner which is mash potatoes, magic gravy, and chicken with vegetables, it is delicious. He also buys me colouring books when he goes out to the shops. He lets me listen to my favourite songs in the car. We love reading stories together. And I love him so so so so so much!”