The relationship my Dad and I have isn’t like the usual one. I know everyone likes to think that, but for once this is actually true. It’s a friendship where we can insult each other jokily one minute and pour our hearts out the next. The Dad Talks come fierce and fast, but almost always in a way I can handle without feeling too claustrophobic.
Only he can influence me to stop using exclamation marks in any email or text to him, just because it’s his ‘least favourite punctuation mark’ and finds it unnecessary...who knows how he copes with Trish’s over-excitement in her emails.
Only he can put up with me moaning that a rocket in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse wouldn’t realistically take off from a back garden, to then wonder why I can possibly accept the fact that a dog, mouse and duck can talk.
Only he can sit with me on the garden steps during his tiny 5 minute slot of peace out of the whole day, put down his paper and let me talk utter nonsense. Or let me ramble on and pretend to listen during his beloved cooking.
Only he can get away with constantly replying to any text from me with just an ‘Ok’ without me getting too annoyed...though granted it did happen once, and the witty reply I got back was ‘Okey dokey’. The fact that he doesn’t use embarrassing text talk and knows how to correctly use ‘pmsl’ still fills me with pride.
Only he can drive to the ‘wrong side of the water’ every weekend for 10 odd years to pick me up, and call me without fail every Tuesday and Thursday no matter what I’d done wrong.
Only he can make sure we both remember every ‘special’ song there was after I was born: What was number one, our first dance, the first song he heard straight after my birth...or just point blank make ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ officially our song.
Only he can threaten to divorce me as a daughter unless I watched Goodfellas. Right this second. Or have the knowledge of my taste to pick out a book from the shelf and know I’m going to love it.
Only he can force the things I didn’t think I could ever dream of telling him out of me, give me advice, comfort me and end with an ‘I told you so’.
Only he can moan at me about walking around with wet hair, only then to dare me to jump into a 15 degrees plunge pool.
Only he can be comfortable enough with his daughter to moan about how annoying his kids are, gossip about his friends and hint at the ‘wife problems’.
Only he can laugh whilst wrapping up my hands or fingers (three times so far) and taking me to the hospital, sitting for hours playing angry birds and trying to be funny to keep me from crying in pain.
Only he can be the Dad that everyone wants to meet. My friends love him, and have said so probably too many times. Pity for them. Shocking really when he gets away with referring to one of them only as ‘tart’......straight to her face.
Only he can see I need some attention or stress release, and take a break from work to play CoD, Halo or Gears with me...only to beat me pretty much every time. However, we do make an awesome Co-op team – providing I don’t die too many times. After all, he is the one who has trained me well enough to start a game on ‘normal’ or ‘hard’, unlike his disappointing fully grown friends.
Only he can spend a good half an hour with me pulling poses at a camera in a restaurant after Trish’s persistent urges to “take a nice one now”. One of the poses being Pulp Fiction, by the way. How cool is my Dad?
Only he can give me genuinely wicked times; Arsenal and Leyton Orient football matches, 18 looong holes at Hainault golf course, bellowing out Wonderwall with his friends in his pub, having a posh free dinner at the Oxo Tower. He does this of course whilst still becoming the new Gok Wan, getting too excited about clothes and forcefully cutting a label off my clothing just because you could slightly see it as I walked, so I don’t embarrass him out in the real world.
I miss standing on his feet to dance with him at weddings, or sitting on his shoulders feeling like the queen of the world, or collecting the pebbles of Budleigh, or holding his hand without it looking weird whilst chasing geese or feeding squirrels, or standing in his t-shirts and trying to walk in his huge shoes (both of which I still do, to be honest).
I guess we’ve just been through a lot together. I can read him like a book. When he cries, I cry, and possibly vice versa. He holds many of my secrets, and I know I have a couple of his kept somewhere in this almost vacant head of mine. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a pain in the backside, and everyone who knows him will know exactly why. Cheeky, stubborn, sometimes impatient and full of occasional not-so-tasteful banter, I fear I’m a miniature version of him. We’ve had extreme ups and excruciating downs, which I suppose is to be expected, but in some kind of cheesy, cliché way it’s made us closer. He does like to say that clichés were made for a reason.
Dads are meant to be there for you; it’s part of the job description. But when mine has been physically unable to do so, he’s made sure he has in some other crazy way. Like I said, stubborn. He’s taught me a lot of important things that I must remember in life: how to pull a pint, never trust a Man U, Chelsea or (I might throw up just saying the name) Spurs fan, and how to insult myself in a more hilarious manner than anyone else directing digs at me.
We’re not just a father and daughter anymore, we’re a team. He’s literally one of the best friends I will ever have. He’s an alright guy I suppose... ;-)