My Dad, My Hero

I've spend the last five minutes trying to put to together the perfect sentence to introduce tonight's blog post - alas I cannot. I've wanted to write about my dad for a good while but for reasons unknown I've postponed the writing of this particular blog post time and time again. The last I want is to write something so cliché about parents (or dads) that I end up with a disgustingly biased and unrealistic post about someone incredibly special. My dad deserves better than that and for this reason I'm struggling to find the right words which brings me straight to one of the many characteristics my dad has, he loves to challenges - knowingly and unknowingly. It makes him part of who he is - the most amazing man I've ever had the pleasure to meet.

If I was asked to describe my dad, I don't think that I could. He just doesn't fit into a box. He's incredibly funny, stubborn, realistic, charming, caring, loving, honest, witty and bright. He was born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon and that zodiac sign fits my dad to a tee. I remember giving my dad a coaster with a fierce green dragon in it's centre for his birthday in 2000. He was brewing fresh coffee while unwrapping his present and upon opening the box, he took one look at the coaster and said "Yes, that's me," - we all laughed and my mum handed my dad a bottle of Tabasco 'to help him spew fire'.

If you follow me on Twitter you will have undoubtedly come across the or other odd tweet about my dad -   below a small selection of my tweets.

Can I do an #FF for my dad even though he's not on Twitter? He's the most amazing man ever. I have endless respect for him!

I do love a good argument with my dad..always interesting. Also love his jokes..class! Best of all is "kisses, love you" before we hang up!

Dad always says this! RT “@AncientProverbs: I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, & that is that I know nothing. -Socrates”

Dad: My phone battery's always empty after we talk.
Me: That's cos we always talk for ages.
Dad: Nah, it's the distance, uses more energy!

Dad: Ireland was in the news the yesterday!
Me: Really?
Dad: Yeah, the Queen, etc. More importantly though the Irish President is well fit!

Me: Dad, I'm planning to come visit you in July.
Dad: I'm confused. Didn't you say you were emigrating to China?
Me: Cheers Dad!

Me: Dad, I met a race horse worth 60 million dollar...
Dad: I'm worth more than that! *smiles*
I love my dad - he's priceless!

I consider my dad a great inspiration and even though we sometimes have arguments that would put a Tom & Jerry cartoon to shame, I truly love my dad.  Like any child would I regularly criticise my dad and challenge him and like any parent he replies that I need to gather some life experience before I go and pluck my opinions out of thin air. It makes for the most interesting debates, especially at 3am which is, strangely enough, our preferred time to have a heated discussion - I do wonder why the neighbours have never said a word...

One of my favourite pastimes is to listen to my dad's stories. With more than 80 years life experience he's got the most astonishing things to tell and he tells them like no other - I cannot get enough and always pester him for more. To me it doesn't matter whether I've heard the story before or whether it's something I'm listening to for the first time. Somehow my dad has the incredible talent to make the story come alive - you feel like you're right there in the centre of it all. The way he describes people and places, it makes you feel like you've known them all your life. I've never met my dad's mother and unfortunately neither did he but the way he describes her, well I've no doubt that she was one incredible woman. She was rather tiny in size but a her character made up for it by the tenfold. With his 6ft something my grandfather towered over her but the two were a perfect match, she tamed him and he let her get away with murder. Her famous last words were "save my son" and I'm forever grateful to her for making that decision. I never asked my dad outright about his feelings about her choice but I like to think that my dad honoured his mother's choice by naming me after her.

So then, after all that, what makes a Dad?

A little girl needs Daddy
for many, many things:
Like holding her high off the ground
where the sunlight sings! 
Like being the deep music
that tells her all is right
when she awakens frantic with
the terrors of the night. 

Like being the great mountain
that rises in her heart
and shows her how she might get home
when all else falls apart. 

Like giving her the love
that is her sea and air,
so diving deep or soaring high
she'll always find him there.

[Author: Unkown]

It may be a bit late to ask this question but I'll ask it nevertheless. To be quite honest, I've not got the foggiest idea. For me a million and one things make my dad or Papa, which is how I call him, the man he is. 

To me he's the one who has always been there, through thick and thin, from day one. He was the one who blew up my paddling pool in the summer and filled it with water. He was the one who walked me to school and stood at the gate when it was time to come home for lunch. He was the one who yelled at the headmaster when a couple guys in my class beat the crap out of me and I crawled home, bruised, battered and in tears. He was the one who patiently sat with me and helped me with my homework when my mum lost her patience and he was right there when I woke up in the middle of the night after a dreadful nightmare.

My dad was there to hold me when I decided that eating some 1.5kg of cherries for lunch was a good idea and he held my hand all the way through the night when I was in hospital following a nasty tick bite. He poured antiseptic on my knee when I fell off a wall (I remember I didn't like him all that much then) and he spun me around the room on a Sunday afternoon which is when he usually listened to his vinyl records. He was the one who laughed when his little daughter announced that she would marry Frank Sinatra and he was the one to calm my mum down when I decided to cut off my beautiful long hair. My dad was the one to say 'yes' when mum said 'no' and he was the one who took me out for ice cream and to the fair. He was the one who bought me a flight ticket to visit my friend in California and he was the one who supported me when I announced that I was off to Ireland to start a new life.

Does all that make a dad a dad or are those things a daughter should be allowed to take for granted? Growing up I took all that for granted, these days I know better. My dad did all this and more simply because he loved me, still does. I know he'd give his life to save me and he wouldn't even bat an eyelid. He'll go ballistic if anyone dares to as much as touch his precious little girl. He'd spend every last penny on me and starve in the process if I let him. He'd do all that and more for me because he truly is the most amazing, caring man there is - but rile him up the wrong way and you'll be sorry, even I've made that experience throughout the years.

I distinctly remember starting this post with the statement that I didn't want to write a "disgustingly biased and unrealistic post" but I think I've failed somewhat in actually archiving that. I am well and truly biased when it comes to my Papa and everything I've written so far shows that I am putting my dad up on a pedestal. I do ignore his his advice sometimes but other times I put it on a silver platter. I've always challenged my dad's opinions and beliefs for as long as I can think and I will continue to do so because if there's one thing my dad taught me then it's to "use your brain, there's only one thing that's black and white and that's the figurines on a chess board". You know what, he's damn right! Why settle for black and white when you can have a rainbow?

So yeah, my dad is an incredibly special person and I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for him. I miss him - sometimes so badly that I tell myself moving to another country was the wrong thing to do, but then I wake up and realise that if my dad ever heard me say that he'd give me a sound piece of his mind. My dad and I have a strange relationship but I'm a true daddy's girl and I'll always be so thanks dad for everything you've done so far and continue to do, for all your advice, your encouragement, your hugs and kisses and your criticism but most importantly thank you for your unadulterated love. Thank you for listening when nobody else will! This post doesn't even come close to doing you justice, but I tried and I know that would be a good enough start for you. I'm proud to call you my dad and I'm proud to gush about how awesome you are and I hope you share that sentiment...I'll see you soon and I'll bring a present, whether you like it or not :-)

My Dad, My Hero