Today, April 9th, is my Dad’s birthday. Both my parents are currently living abroad, so my sister and I haven’t really been able to send a gift this year. We did, however, get round to posting an amusing card with those googly eyed vegetable people on it (thank you, Moonpig!).
Recently when I was clearing out my old school things, I stumbled across a sort of essay entitled ‘My Hero.’ I presume this was an assignment set by my English teacher in my first or second year of school, but to be honest I can’t really remember.
At the tender age of 12 or 13, you’d think my list of heroes would be pretty much limited to Britney Spears at the height of her ‘Baby One More Time’ fame. Perhaps Giles from ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ at a stretch. Unlike most teenage dirtbags, however, it appears that one of the people I most admired was my Dad. I thought it might be nice to post an extract from this mini-essay, written by mini-me, as a tribute to him on his birthday.
“During my early childhood, my family and I lived comfortably in a spacious apartment in Abu Dhabi. My father frequently worked abroad during our life there, and so his returns from distant shores seemed to me as times of celebration, as if he was a glorious victor of some unknown battle with important matters that were beneath me. His absence always seemed like a month even if he was only away for a week, as his character brought so much life to the family that when he was gone, it seemed like there was an empty space not only at the dinner table, but in the family.
Being the only male in my family (not of course counting the dog), I found him somewhat of a curiosity, and the ruler / protector of the rest of us. My father was someone I respected yet feared at the same time, a distant, powerful figure whose every words were wise and unique. As a child I had great respect for him, though being a mischievous youngster I didn’t always show it.
When in a bad mood, my father turned from warm and outgoing into a terrible, introverted creature who was prone to negativity when speaking. In contrast, when feeling happy my father became the entertainer of the family, and sudden outbursts of witty humour were not uncommon.
My father has always been somewhat tight when it comes to spending money, and this trait I distinctly remember in him as a child. He meticulously kept track of his money and where it was going, although when it came to horse racing he was willing to bet like any other avid fan. I regarded his precise way of handling money as a gift he had.”