It’s taken two years for my Dad to complete the Dear Dad journal I gave to him for Christmas 2011. It seems like a long time but he is nearly 80 and there’s a lot to remember.

He was flattered and delighted to receive the journal two years ago, but equally rather daunted and overwhelmed. I know he felt a weighty pressure to deliver some meaningful content. And there’s always the worry that, as the youngest of three, memories of me may be a little hazy.
Nevertheless, it was worth the wait. I could see the care and effort he put into meticulously crafting his handwriting and grammar. He wrote in pencil so there are lots of rubbings out, to reach the perfection he wanted.
What strikes me most is that his personality really shines through his written words. His description of his tough upbringing, his deep respect for his father who, at times, made my Dad’s childhood a misery; his struggles and success in creating a good career; and ultimately his love and commitment to his family and determination to be a great father.

Smaller, but still poignant, bits of information, like the fact that he had a passion for photography and still has some prints he created himself, are a wonderful find for me. It’s news to me that he used to sing/perform in pubs, and had a real love for music. He’s always singing with his grandchildren (my own children), so it will excite them to learn that Grandad was once a musical star! And the fact that he can recall some near-fatal childhood mishaps make me realise that he hasn’t always been the cautious and practical man I know.
No great surprises or family secrets revealed, but a greater understanding of the life and experience that shaped my Dad and made him the incredible father he is today.