My earliest memory of you is being in an old brown car and biting mum. I don’t know what she did or how old I was, but she burst into tears and before I knew it you had grabbed my hand and bitten me back. I learnt two things from that incident: not to bite again and to fear you. The perfect parenting brigade these days would slam what you did, but it was the best thing you could have done.
You worked as a cleaner until recently, you had your own business cleaning offices and unit blocks. In the early days you worked 6-7 days a week. I remember at times being embarrassed about that, once I told a classmate in primary school you were a police officer because it sounded far more glamorous. Every day you would be up before 6am. You would get in your car and go and work 9-10 hour days, sweeping, vacuuming, tidying. It took me a while to be proud of what you did for a living. Now I proudly tell anyone who will listen how hard you worked.
Because of your work hours you weren’t around much when I was growing up. Mum stayed at home looking after three children and you worked. It was the way it was. We lived in one of the most expensive parts of Sydney right by the beach. Every year you would make sure we had a holiday, down the South Coast. You could only ever come down on weekends because you had to go back and work, there wasn’t any holidays for you. I never heard you complain about it but you would fall asleep as soon as you arrived, it’s only now I realise that was from pure exhaustion.
When I was 16 you and mum separated. I remember telling you not to think about ever getting another partner because I already had a mother. I was such an asshole of a teenager. You never have remarried. There has been one or two female friends but I regret saying that. At 19 I fell pregnant unexpectedly. I remember walking to your place around the corner to tell you, and being absolutely terrified. You were so disappointed, it was the only time I’ve ever seen tears in your eyes. Even though you knew what was coming when I did become a single mum you never once said “I told you so”
I was always a daddy’s girl but it was after my son was born that we became closer. I went to every Sydney Swans game with you for years. We went to the Grand Final together in 2005 and they won. I remember looking at you and thinking thank the stars that happened. How many games did we sit through when they copped an absolute flogging? Even when they were a hundred points down you’d make us sit there and support them. I took you on your first overseas trip in your 50’s and on many more after that. You took me to buy my first bra, sat through endless dance concerts, took me to vote for the first time, and picked me up when I fell. You taught me about loyalty, friendships, working hard and getting on with things. To accept what I have and be grateful for it, because there is always someone out there worse off. You gave me the morals I have today, and what I hope my own kids are learning.
You are a man’s man but the perfect man to have three daughters. You are a dad, a grandfather, a friend but most importantly you are the best human I know.
Thank you for being you.
Love your favourite daughter x