I grew up in the north where Dads looked after the boys and Mums took care of the girls but still I idolised my father. When I close my eyes and dream of youth, I remember cycling along river beds with him, helping him count out pennies in the family store and a beam stretches across my face when I recall him chasing my friends and me in the garden after a hard day at work.
Dads seem to have the ability to make fabulous memories.
So what makes my father great?
I can’t tell you one individual thing, except for the simple fact that he is my dad. He is respected by his peers and installed a set of beliefs in me that have served me well through life. He was the man who first took me on a rollercoaster, despite the fact he loathed every minute.
He held my hand when I walked down the aisle, and made me cry when he spoke at my wedding; he taught me that if you have a problem that money can solve then you ain’t got a problem. I may have taken this advice too liberally according to my credit cards but when I look at the world around me and see people with real problems I know exactly what he means.
During my two girl’s illnesses in the last three years I have seen more of my father than ever before, when they go into hospital he is there, sitting beside mum, waiting to see what he can do to help. When my kids were born he was waiting in hospital, when my daughter was discovered to have a dislocated hip it was his arms into which I fell. When my eldest was found to have Type1 Diabetes it was he who told me with could cope with this, and I believed him.
My dad taught me to be strong, he taught me to graft, and he made me believe that I could do anything I wanted to do.
When I ran my first marathon in 2006 he battled to the front of the crowds at mile 25 to make sure I didn’t stop, to make sure I achieved my goal.
I didn’t stop.
What makes my Dad great? Everything and nothing, he just is.