Tuesday, 5 July 2011

My Heart Belongs to Daddy

I was just going to post my usual Tottie Tuesday today - and I will, don't panic - but I had a dream about my Dad last night and it's weighing on me, so I thought I'd share with you all about the best Dad a girl from Essex ever had.

I know everybody says that, but in my case it's true - honest.  My Dad was the eldest of eight children, so he was used to being surrounded by people, and so I was always kind of surprised that there were only three of us, my brother, sister and I.  But then my Mum was the second youngest of thirteen, so that probably answers my question.  He grew up in East Ham and then Dagenham in Essex, and the job I remember him doing most when I was a kid was as a bus driver, although I vaguely remember him working in a supermarket of some kind when I was really small.  But the bus driver was the main one and he used to take me and my brother to work with him, during the holidays.  He'd make the conductor give us what he called a "special" ticket so we could ride all day.  I remember packing my little bag with books and snacks that my mum had made up for me, and then sitting in the seat behind the driver's, feeling very important because it was MY Dad who was getting all these people to their destinations safely.  He was doing an invaluable job.  I mean, how would people get to Tesco if he wasn't taking them?

Then things changed.  My Mum died when I was ten and instead of putting us in a home, he kept us as a family unit and instilled in us some of the things which I hope are what make me the person I am today.  But then he had his first heart attack and couldn't drive the bus anymore and stayed at home with us kids.  He was quite a disciplinarian, but the bark was definitely worse than the bite.

My brother gets his artistic abilities from my Dad.  He could sketch anything and I have two of his paintings saved for my children.  My niece has also inherited the arty gene and mine has come out in my writing, because I only do stick figures. 

The one thing I have inherited from my Dad is my sense of humour, although both of my children seem to have inherited his deep blue eyes, somehow. Which my ex was kind of concerned about for a moment, because both of us have brown eyes.  But I knew the first time Alex opened his eyes, my Dad was staring back at me. 

My Dad's sense of humour was bordering on the wicked.  He could have you rolling on the floor, clutching your stomach, begging him to stop.  He was hilarious.  If we were walking along the street, he'd sometimes just hook his arm around your neck to hurry you along, and you'd be overwhelmed by that "Daddy" smell of Old Spice, tobacco and baby powder.  And that's what happened in my dream last night.  I was transported back in time and his arm was around my neck as we walked along, and I woke up this morning with my nostrils filled with the scent of Old Spice, tobacco and baby powder.

He's been gone for seventeen years now - but he still visits me in my dreams, just to let me know he's there. 
Growing up I always thought I was a 'Mummy's girl', but I can honestly say, although it took me a long time to realise it:  my heart really does belong to Daddy.

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