It’s my dad’s 84th birthday today. It’s hard to believe that my lovely dad is no longer the sprightly man he used to be, although until recently mum had to stop him from climbing ladders to mend guttering!

As a child, it was mum who took charge of raising their two daughters. Dad took on the role of breadwinner and pretty much kept in the background. Mum was the disciplinarianin the family and the only time I can ever remember my dad getting cross with me is when I hit my sister with a wooden hairbrush when she wouldnt let me play with her new Barbie doll on her birthday!

When I was 16 dad and I went to watch the local speedway team compete every Friday evening. These were our special father daughter times together and I still remember them with much fondness. He always had a packet of mints with him and I used to pretend every week to be suffering from indigestion so that he would give me one to cure my tummy ache. We still laugh about it now.

My dad was the sort of dad who would do anything for me. He was a carpenter and joiner by trade and if I needed a little job doing he would happily jump in his car and pop up to London to do it. When we were moving up from Kent to Swindon he came all the way down to take our cat to my parent’s home despite the fact that he found the M25 terrifying.

My father grew up in a home where showing your emotions was frowned upon and I don’t ever recall being hugged by dad or ever beinging told that he loves me. I’m not sure if he even held my hand as a child, but I have  always felt  well and truly loved and there has always been a special bond between the two of us. To me my dad is the best. A very caring loving man who has always been there for me and my sister.

Age has been kind to him. Apart from an annoying night time cough, he is pretty fit for an octogenarian. His hearing means that he misses out on snippets of conversation and at times he’s a little forgetful. The most worrying thing is he still drives. I know that he finds junctions and roundabouts tricky and needs mum to tell him if it’s clear to go. But driving the car is his little bit of Independence.I think without the car his world will shrink to the size of their little house.

I just phoned dad. He was in the middle of a tea party celebration with mum and my sister and brother in law. I’m sorry I cant be there to raise a cup of tea to him and wish my wonerful dad the very happiest of birthdays. Thanks dad…you are the best and I love you very much.