They say some girls date boys who are like their Dads and, for me, there is no greater honour than to describe someone as being ‘like my Dad’.
The more time I spend with my partner Luke the clearer the similarities between him and my Daddy become.
They are both so kind and caring, their families are their number one priority and they see it as their duty to make sure we are okay.
Their sense of humour is the sort that you have to groan after you catch yourself laughing at one of their jokes, so awful they’re great.
This Father’s Day is a special one for us – for my partner Luke it is the first and for my Dad it is the first as a Grandad. I hope they both know, today and all days, how wonderful we think they are.
Fatherhood isn’t a topic I’ve yet written about in this still very new blog, so I wanted to use today as the opportunity to start to change that.
I’ve asked some of the Dads who I admire, the most what being a father means to them… and there’s an extra little surprise for them too.
We begin with my partner Luke, father to Harry, 10 months:
When I was 18, I can vividly remember going on a bike ride that took me past a junior school. I remember seeing all of the mums and dads waiting outside the school gates for their children, children who would be excited to tell them about their day and all of the little things they had been doing.
It was then that I experienced a totally new sensation – I wanted to be a father!
It was not until a decade later that my dream was to become a reality. I will always be able to remember the moment when Amy told me that we were going to have a baby. I felt a mixture of feelings: dread, fear, anxiety, but above all excitement!
I remember thinking back to that moment outside the school 10 years ago, I knew there would be a long way to go before I got there, but I was on my way.
Fast-forward 8 months, after returning from a trip to the cinema I was having a snooze in bed next to my heavily pregnant girlfriend when I was awoken by a very gentle shake: Amy said to me in a very calm way, “my waters have just broken”.
All of those initial feelings came back, with the strongest being “I should put the bed sheets in to soak”.
Fast forward five hours and I was holding my wonderful son, knowing that my life would never be the same again, but knowing no matter what, me and my family were going to be happy.
Being a father has changed my life dramatically. It is not in the big ways you notice these changes (apart from the pushchair, cot and small person now living in my flat), but in the small.
You notice when going to the supermarket – your trolley used to be filled with the beers for the weekend, treats for yourself, a new book or film perhaps. Whereas now the contents focus on what my child needs.
Making plans with friends used to be spontaneous and often done on a same day basis, now it is like planning a covert military operation just to go for a pint.
My life has changed, but would I change anything? Absolutely not.
A message to Luke from me:
From the moment we met, you have gone out of your way to look after me and, now that we have our beautiful son, you are the same with him. We are undoubtedly and unwaveringly the most important thing in your life and I know I don’t thank you enough for that.
You are the kindest person I know and every day I feel so lucky to have you in my life, to have you as the father to my the baby boy I’ve dreamed of having for so long.
I’m so proud to be the partner of someone who is not only ambitious and hard working himself, but who supports me doing that too. Thank you for taking my dreams seriously, thank you for not taking my numerous rants about the housework seriously and thank you for being my best friend.
Nigel Higgins from DIY Daddy, father of five including twin girls:
I’m a father of five and have had 21 Father’s Day now that’s a lot!
Becoming a dad changed my outlook on life and even now I remember how I went from being a selfish please myself type of person. Then like a lightening bolt, I was responsible for a little human being, I couldn’t just do what I wanted when I wanted. But it made me a better person it gave purpose and I truly believe it’s why I was born, to be dad. It’s without question the best job in the world. Being a dad completed me as a human being.
Father’s Day is extra special for me because it’s one of those rare occasions that I will have all my five children together in one room. That never ceases to bring a tear of happiness to my eye.
Rich Sayers, from One Hull of a Dad, father of two:
Having kids changed my life. It couldn’t not really. You learn so much about yourself once you have a child. You also feel something new. True, unconditional love, to have someone who needs you for everything in their life is daunting but an amazing feeling. Especially when they first say “dada”.
The first year seems to pass so quick, as do all the others really. I would say to new parents, enjoy them. Parenting is hard but rewarding. I love being a dad, it seems to get better each year. To see your children growing and progressing before your very eyes is an unbelievable feeling, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.
A message to Rich from his wife Kerry, One Hull of a Mum
So i have been asked to write a few words to say thank you on this fathers day.
How can I put into words and explain the sort of father you are? Words don’t mean very much and anyone can say “you’re a good father” but what really makes you a good father is your actions!
The many times you get up during the night to see to a hungry baby girl, or the times you get up at 3am to a hysterical 5yr old that’s just had a nightmare and wants a cuddle. The times you pick them up when they fall , or the times you go outside to play with the boy and his ball after work when all you want is to sit and have your tea, for that I thank you!
The most important thing for our children to see is how you treat their mammy…me. You are our rock, you go out and work hard so that I can stay at home and be with the children. You provide for us and make sure we have the things we need and the holidays that give us the family memories we will end up treasuring forever and that I thank you!
There are no words but I think it says it all when our children run to you for a cuddle with their faces lit up as soon as you walk through the door! You really are an amazing Daddy to our precious babies, and for this I THANK YOU!
Chris Hale, father of two little girls:
I was shocked to become a father so soon after only knowing my now wife for a couple of months! But my girls have transformed my life. They give me a reason to succeed in business (Pop Up North) and personally. It is the most important job I’ll ever have and the most rewarding albeit frustrating at times!
A message to Chris from his wife Sophie, Mama Mei:
As soon as our eldest Jasmine arrived into this world, Chris became the best father I have ever come across. His kids always come first in his aspirations, his worries and his dreams. He has taught me how to be a parent and that time is all kids really need. He has also cared for me too and whilst he annoys me he is a genuinely loving and caring person.
Ian Elliott, father of three little girls:
Depending on what you read and who you speak to, fatherhood means a very wide range of different things. There’s the age old view of fathers that TV, the media and some people I’ve encountered seem to portray of us: the inept, bumbling fool who forgets birthdays, won’t lift a finger around the house and is basically clueless about the fundamental needs of a child. Then of course there’s the self-proclaimed antithesis of this, the expert at being a perfect father. This one’s always posting on Facebook about how all men and fathers should be just like him. He usually includes a selfy of him the day he once changed a nappy (“come on dad’s, look I’ve changed this nappy, why can’t you all be like me?”) What a hero!
We’re under pressure not just from the media (social or otherwise) though. At home there’s pressure to be a good husband/partner without letting the fatherly duties slide. To be a breadwinner, to be a good employee at work. To earn enough to fulfill as many of your childrens’ wishes and dreams as possible. The demands are endless. There’s also the internal pressure we put on ourselves, if we slip up on a single one of these demands we beat ourselves up and the way we see it, we’re essentially the bumbling idiot ‘TV father’ that society tells us we are. (I’d like mothers to know that deep down we worry as much as they do!)
But the way I see it, none of this matters. The only thing that matters is your children. All these internal and external pressures are imagined. To me the meaning of fatherhood can be summed up in two words: Being There. I mean that both figuratively and literally. Being there for our children. When we’re with them, for the small stuff, they’ll learn that we’re there when they need us for the big stuff. We can’t physically be there 100% of the time but its making the best of when we are. It’s not letting our minds be preoccupied or distracted with work or money or any of the other demands placed on us. Listening to them, talking to them, showing them we’re really truly present and we are happy to be there! It’s not easy, and no one’s ever perfect. Sometimes the pressure gets us, we prioritise something else. Our minds wander, that’s OK. But if our children know that no matter what, we are always there when they need us, truly there, they will aim high without fear. They’ll reach high knowing that whether they succeed or fail, we will be there to help and encourage them. Encouraging them either to reach again when they fall or to reach higher when they do touch the stars. Fatherhood to me is truly being there with them when we can, because we only get this one chance. Everything else can wait.
A message to Ian from his wife, Vickie:
Thank you for being the perfect role model, for loving the bugs fiercely and for being there. We love and appreciate you very much.
Alex Matos, father to 9 month old Isabella:
“Do you want to lie on the bed or stand?” the midwife asked Nicky whom between contractions just looked at me. “What do I want?”, she said. This was now my part to be helpful, “she doesn’t want to lie on the bed”, as I had heard so many times from Nicky after her birth classes that this was the worst possible position for a quick birth which it was clear she was having.
There she was holding against the side of the bed, me next to her giving her sips of water and the midwife kneeling between her legs looking up and with one hand holding a cloth against Nicky’s bum. I could not help but wonder do they teach that to all novice midwives or do they get that trick after a bad experience…
The next few minutes flew by and what I feared would be a gruesome experience was a wonderful one after all, even between all the blood and other fluids, the moment that head started to show herself to this world was indeed a unique and beautiful moment I’m very glad I didn’t miss and was there on my knees to see her come out.
I was also so proud of Nicky who did all the hard work with no pain relieve and was there still standing with shaky legs and a pale face.
It was 4:30am when for the first time, after cutting the cord, I held my daughter in my arms, my partner next to me and the sun rising behind us just visible from the only window in the room. It was a new day and a new life from now on, but we were all together… one family.
Finally lying on the bed Nicky smiles to the midwife and asks “I’m sorry, I never asked your name?” “My name is Jackie” Nicky smiled… “That’s my mum’s name…”
A message to Alex from his girlfriend Nicola:
Words can’t do justice in expressing how grateful I am for the night get ups, the putting up with my flip outs, the paying for everything and the always being behind me breastfeeding.
Thank you to everyone who has taken part in this post, I hope you had a lovely Father’s Day.