Over the past weeks the reality of life has become a vivid and unrelenting truth. We usually try to ignore certain facts, trusting that tomorrow, when we wake up, everything will be the same with regards to our family. We have had to confront the truth that one day, you wake and you cannot call or talk to a loved one, twice already.
Being a fairly new dad, I have been thinking about this and what mine meant to me. As time marches on, one tends to reflect more on past times, I think this is just natural.
One of my earliest memories was going to church with my dad. I was always fascinated with his hands and while the church was going on, I would play with his hands. This was before I went to school. It is apt to remember this, because religion has always been a core part of his life, to this day.
My dad always made time for his children, after he came home from work, he had tea with mom, and then we went to the beach to play or swim. I loved sport and played rugby, so we spent time catching a high ball or learning how to pass properly. Many times we just played various beach games.
We never had excess growing up, but we never needed anything as well. He used his bonus (13th check) every year to pay for our holiday as a family. This was important to them as parents and we were lucky to have spent many years together having fun as a family of 5.
I think one of the biggest influences he had on me, was love for nature. We share a love for the Karoo, animals, birding and the beauty of nature in general. As I got older, we spend many hours walking around on farms, in nature parks or just sitting quietly, taking it in. He has always been an avid bonsai collector and I will always remember him snipping away, lovingly caring for his trees.
He believed in us, unconditionally, he was always there when we needed him. He instilled in us the core values we needed to become functional productive people, but he showed us what it meant to be a parent and in my case a father and much-loved dad and granddad.
When I think about who I am as a person today, I do make my own choices and I do things a little different in terms of those choices, but the core, the base, from which I make those life decisions come from them, a reference guide if you will. We were incredibly lucky to have such a strong base as children and we are still learning today, they still provide an example of love to us.
I hope that I can have the same influence on my son, giving him those self-same core values. He has the advantage of still getting to experience some of his granddad’s loves, and we can just hope that it will rub off at this early age, even if he does not remember it.
To this day, my dad is still my hero, he is the man I am still striving to be, he is and was my mentor, the person I turned to, when I wanted to talk to someone. My parents were my cheerleaders when I played sport, my shoulder to cry on, the constant light, always there in the background.
I find it tough to put what my dad means to me in words, it seems there is not really words to describe what he means, and maybe this is just, because he is so much more than this to me, he is my dad. I am proud to be a father and just hope I can do him justice in being a dad to my son. It is most important to me.