Today would have been my Dad’s 76th birthday; it’s been a little over six months since he passed away. Happy Birthday, Dad.
More than anything else, I find myself missing his voice and his laugh. He was one of those people who laughed in the round. His laughter was a shout. It embraced you, it could fill any space. When my Dad was happy, you couldn’t help but be happy around him. When he wasn’t happy, things were hard. I won’t deny that there were plenty of times when he was challenging but those reminiscences are not for Facebook.
My Dad wasn’t the best dad in the world. But I don’t think anyone is. We’re all too flawed as men, fathers and parents to lay claim to the title. All we can do is try to be the best Dad we can be. If I learnt one thing from my father, in happy or less happy circumstances alike, this is the one that feels most important today. Actually, especially now and in the present, because we live in a world where our notions of what it takes to be a ‘good man’ seem to be unravelling – or at least, moving in a direction I robustly disagree with.
When I’m gone, I hope my kids will tell their partners and friends that their Dad did the best he could. I hope that they’ll say that most of the time, he hit the mark. I’m not trying not to be a better father than mine or yours, but just to be the best I can be. I never asked my father if he saw it that way. Today, on the first birthday that he’s not around to celebrate, I kind of wish I had.