This blog actually wasn’t inspired by Father’s Day, but as I got the idea for this blog only a week or so ago, I decided to hold off until Father’s Day when we’d all be thinking about our dear ol’ Dads anyway.
(Whilst I’m telling you about my Dad, it would serve the magic of storytelling well for you all to be aware that he is, in my Mother’s words, “Over 6 foot tall, and built like a brick sh*t house.” and through most of my youth, I was a tiny, ginger dot that nearly blew away in the wind more than once.)
It started on a walk to work on a particularly glorious day, I saw another route and thought, “I should go that way for a change.” An innocent enough thought, except that I was instantly reminded of all the things I had forgotten about my youth.
You see, growing up was a little different in our house. My Mum became disabled when I was very young, and walking any sort of distance became tough for her without a wheelchair or crutches. I don’t want anyone to misunderstand, she is the best Mum that anyone could wish for, but things like walking the kids to school were left to my Dad.
At Primary School we lived literally over the road from our school, so my older brothers would go running off to school and crawl through a hole in the fence. Unfortunately I was too little, (think Piglet-sized), so my Dad would have to lift me over the gate to school. I can remember running to the gate with my brothers and then just standing and waiting for my Dad to pick me up and lift me over.
When I started Junior School, my school was across town, so obviously my Dad would walk me to school. It was a reasonable walk, so we had plenty of time to be silly. I would walk alongside him and try and keep my feet in time with his, so he would quickly change his footsteps with a little hop, and I would desperately scurry to try to keep in time.
The thing with my Dad is that he has a very short attention span, and walking the same route every day just didn’t appeal to him. Every now and then we would take a different route, and he would say it was to avoid some sort of enemy. It changed every time, but my favourite was always in the winter when we would have to avoid the Bulgarians with the poison-tipped umbrellas, which caused us to run away from anyone carrying an umbrella. Which was everyone. We would hide behind walls, sprint to find the next cover… Obviously this was an absolute riot as a child, but it wasn’t until just a couple of weeks ago that it really sank in what he was teaching me. Quite simply, to have fun.
I often hear back from people that they saw me dancing in the street, and people have genuinely assumed that I was absolutely wasted (or even on drugs) because I was doing something “embarrassing” in front of people. The fact is, being silly in public so much as a child has lead to me genuinely not caring about enjoying myself. If I want to dance, I dance. If I want to do teddy-bear rolls, I do. If I need to sneeze in the middle of a karaoke song, I damn well do it!
Even little things would be a source of fun. Having 5 kids, my parents once had an 8 seater Nissan Serena. The advantage of this was SLIDING DOORS! I would take the trolley back after shopping, my brother would be waiting in the back with the door open. I would run back to the car, throw myself in and shout, “GO! GO! GO!”, whilst my brother slammed the door and my Dad made the tires skid and squeal against the tarmac. We posted letters the same way.
It wasn’t all silliness though. I remember once my parents had decided I was old enough to walk to school alone, and my Dad would leave the house just after me and walk 100ft or so behind me. I could never really understand why, until one day we had the thickest fog you’ve ever seen. I quite literally could barely see more than a couple of feet ahead of myself. It was a bit scary, but just knowing that my Dad was behind me there somewhere was the biggest comfort in the world.
When I was younger, our “thing” was to watch Bond movies together. My Mum can’t stand them so she would always leave the room, and it would just be Dad & me watching James Bond, and of course discussing how silly he was to get captured and how *we* could have avoided it, because we are smarter and cooler than James Bond. Indiana Jones was a favourite too!
Then, when I was older and had my first job, I had one late night a week where I would finish at 9pm. My Dad would come and pick me up from work, and knowing that it had doubtless been a stressful day, he would take me to the supermarket to buy red wine, and what we have always affectionately called “fat fats”, which is yummy baked goods that make you fat. Now, whenever I need to relax I drink wine and eat cake. Which is why I’m a chubby alcoholic. (J/K kids, alcoholism and obesity aren’t funny.)
So, Dad, if you’re reading this… You shaped my life into what it is now, if it weren’t for you I wouldn’t have spent a portion of The Burnley Blues Festival doing cartwheels in the park, and I definitely wouldn’t have a huge crush on Sean Connery. (I didn’t inherit that one, that’s just from watching James Bond.)
I love you! Happy Father’s Day!
P.S. Mum, you’re great too!
– Evie xx