For Fathers Day, I decided to write a blog post about why my Dad is a super Dad.
My father is an amazing man and a great role model. As my brother said in his wedding speech “whenever I have a decision to make, I ask myself, what would my dad do, the answer is usually the right thing to do”. Professionally a high achiever, he worked from the ground up at Nestle Ireland to the position of director of chilled foods. My love for keeping fit spawned from watching him captain Monkstown Rugby Club, train for marathons, windsurfing in Brittas Bay, and tagging along on hill walks.
He is loving husband that adores the ground that my mum walks on and they have stuck together through thick and thin. They have been together for almost 40 years. If you want to know how to treat a woman properly then my dad is the finest example you will ever see. Olivia can thank him for the lessons that he was subconsciously giving me just by being himself. Now that he is retired he works as tour guide and has written two books which you can find out more by clicking on the links below:
1.He bought me “James the tank engine” when I was 5.
When I was young, my dad would go sailing with his uncle most summers. Each time he would go my mother would cry inconsolably and count the days until his return. At the time, I thought she was overreacting, but in hindsight, it was very sweet and showed how much she loved him. I can thank her and my father’s love for my emotional stability today.
After one of his annual sailing trips, my father brought back a gift that rocked this 5-year-olds World and begins the confirmation of his status as a Super Dad. At the age of 5, you would be hard-pressed to find a bigger “Thomas the Tank Engine” fan than me. To this day, I still don’t find many things more relaxing than the soothing tones of Ringo Star narrating the life of a personified, fictional, steam-locomotive.
Thomas’ best mate in the show was named James and he had the number 5 emblazoned on the side of his bright red engine. On his return from sailing, in the summer of 1989, he brought me a replica James the tank engine. I was 5 years old, James the Tank engine was the number 5. I was called James, he was called James. This amazed me. When he handed the toy to me he said, “I bought this for you because you are 5 and your name is James “. At that moment, it was the highlight of my life. The stars had aligned, I was 5 years old and had a toy that’s namesake was Thomas’ the Tank engines best friend.
2. The Best Birthday Parties
In contrary to what Biggie Smalls said in his hit Juicy “Birthdays were the worst days”, birthdays for my brother and I were the best days. It was never about the presents that we got it was all about the parties. The highlights for me were:
- Tobogganing down sand dunes in Wicklow
- Mini Football tournaments
- Treasure Hunts
- Obstacle Course races in our back garden
- Trips to the Fun Factory
All of these were affordable, but extremely entertaining experiences. My parents would go through tremendous effort to organise gangs of up to thirty children for fun filled birthday afternoons. It as alway exciting and never without incident. One incident that sticks out was at John’s eigth birthday, in Loughlinstown Leisure Centre, where my dad had organised a mini football tournament. John’s best friend Richard Lynch was flying around the pitch like a raged up Roy Keane, leaving his foot in and fouling everyone. My dad had no choice but to call him up on it, to which Richard replied, ” FUCK OFF”. My dad was fuming and sent him off.
3.Driving to Slane
When I was 17, I went to see the Verve playing in Slane Castle. It was the beginning of my concert and festival days and that early summer day is still clear in my head. Well, the morning was clear, the afternoon’s memories are little foggy from the 6 tin of Budweiser that I enjoyed on the bus to Slane. On the bus journey there, we were sitting down the back of the bus drinking and joking until our heart’s content. The traffic was terrible and it took about three hours to reach our destination.
As we arrived, I searched for my tickets, much to my dismay, I could not find them. I took my Nokia 6110 from my pocket and called my dad. “Dad?”, I said. ” Did I leave my tickets on my desk?”. He quickly checked and said ” Yes, they are here. I will be there in a couple of hours. I picked a spot beside a petrol station and sat with my mates drinking cans, waiting for my dad to arrive. As promised 2 hours later, after battling the festival traffic, he arrived with the tickets and then turned around and drove home. A round trip of 4-5 hours because of my stupidity. It says a lot about the selflessness of the man to give up his free time to bring me my tickets. I will never forget that, and I am forever indebted to him for that act of kindness.
4.Bringing us to a Manchester United Game.
My brother and I are massive Manchester United fans. One morning in 1995, my dad surprised my brother and me with a trip to Old Trafford to watch Manchester United against Sheffield Wednesday. It was one of the greatest weekends of my childhood. With my little brother in tow, the trip involved a hotel stay, a visit to Granada Studios and it was topped off with a 1-0 Manchester United win. To this day, it was my only trip to Old Trafford. I am looking forward to returning wth Max one day.
5.Holidays every year in France
Almost every year, our family would pack the car and set off on a tour de France for three weeks. There are not many regions of France that we did not see on these wonderful family expeditions. Normandy, Paris, le massif central, the Loire Valley, the Alps, la cote d’azur and much more. We mostly stayed in campsites, in tents or in mobile homes. Campsites in France are a wonderland for children. There is just so much to do. Kids clubs, table tennis, lakes, playgrounds, football pitches, theatre rooms and me and my brother’s personal favourites, fireworks that you could buy in the supermarket. These kind of trips were great for the family and in couple of years I will do the same with my family.
6.Making us earn our keep
Although we never wanted for anything, we were always made to earn our keep. Cutting the grass, washing the car and other miscellaneous housework were how my brother and I earned our pocket money. At the time, I hated it, but it thought me the value of hard work and the value money. These lessons, I will pass on to both Max and Mathilda.
7.Bringing me to the airport no matter how early.
No matter what time of day or night my dad will drop everything and collect or drop me to the airport. Not many parents would go out of their way to this for their children. My dad always offer to do this for me. Time is the most valuable commodity and he gives up his to help me out every time I arrive and depart Ireland. In typically generous fashion, he picked myself, Olivia and the twins up on our first trip to Ireland this week.
These are just 7 of the many stories that my dad is a super dad. I have learned so much from him over the years and I now am trying to be a super dad for my my children. If I can be half the dad that he was then I will be doing a good job. Being a father is the most rewarding thing I have ever done and it came to me naturally. There is no doubt that my natural ability to be a father came from watching my Dad. Happy Father’s Day to my dad and all of the other dad’s out there.