I’m a soppy sap, so I’m digging this one out the archives 🙂
It took me a long time to really understand and fully appreciate all that you have done for me over the years. You are the one person who has been in and part of my life for all my 37 years. Since day one you have done nothing but love me and do everything you possibly you could to nurture me, support me, guide me and teach me how to be more than I could imagine.
Even in the most difficult of times, when I made choices that opposed what everyone else was telling me to do, you stood by me, you never judged me, you were never harsh with me – you only ever backed me up. 100%. Back then, you helped me to believe in myself and realize that I am courageous and capable. And more recently, you’ve done the same again, challenged me to have faith in myself and value who I am.
I know we had our share of run-ins … what parent/child relationship doesn’t go through some turmoil? Especially during those teen years – how you managed to cope with my bratty, spoilt behaviour is remarkable! I guess it took me having my own teens to cope with to truly value just what an amazing parent you’ve been, how gentle and wise you are. Your unconditional love let me know that nothing I ever did would diminish your love for me, that you would always be there for me and do your best for me. You never got crazy with me, even though I know I gave you good reason to at times =) You’ve just never been invasive or bossy – all your loving guidance has been offered with calm, matter-of-fact reason … it still is and it’s perfect for me.
You always encouraged me to be my own person, to trust my instincts and to stand up for myself. By example, you showed me that it’s ok to take risks and I am forever thankful that you passed your entrepreneurial inclinations on to me. Without you paving the way for me in that way, I doubt if I would be where I am today – able to earn a decent living and take care of myself. You’ve taught me that honesty and integrity always wins, that strength of character and perseverance will triumph in the end.
No-one knows me better than you do … perhaps because we are so alike in many ways =) When my divorce became final last year, you were the only one who didn’t whoop for joy and congratulate me. No, you knew how intensely sad I would be feeling and you let me know that it was ok to be broken. Your empathy and strength has been my life saver. More than once, when I’ve felt helpless and betrayed, you’ve defended me against those who have been unjust. And I am truly thankful that you’ve always let me know that I am special and lovable, that I am valuable and that I don’t have to take shit from anyone.
We were a bit different to most families – it wasn’t the norm for a man to raise his little girl on his own back then. For many years, it was mostly just the two of us … and I wouldn’t have changed one little thing about that. I remember how excited I used to get when I knew you were coming home from work. I used to wait patiently for you to finish the Bovril and cheese toast that Topsy made for you and then dive onto your lap for a cuddle and a chat. Or a tickle and a laugh. I remember you tucking me into bed and going through our little goodnight ritual in Italian =) Treasured memories …
We’ve been through a lot together and we’ve always stuck by each other, becoming indescribably closer in spirit with each passing year. We don’t often hug or say “I love you” and yet, that’s ok. Somehow our bond doesn’t require those actions or words to be strong. I know I am Daddy’s Girl.
Dad, for the record: I love you, so very much. Thank you for everything – I could not have hoped for a better man to be my father.
All my deepest love and gratitude,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!