How blessed & fortunate I feel right now, to have been able to spend time with my Dad this week as he celebrated turning 96! This dear sweet man inspires me (and many others) and has done for many years, and there's many good reasons 'why', so please read on...
My Dad came from 'the old school', the era where the wife stayed home to raise the family, cooking, cleaning, sewing and baking. She'd take off her apron and greet him at the front door with a kiss when he arrived home from work each day at 10 to 6.
Mum 'kept house' whilst Dad worked. Dad did the outside 'stuff' tinkering in the garage, mowing the lawns, trimming the edges and being the 'Man of the House'. When they went out together, Dad always drove the car. That was the 'Man's Job' in my Dad's eyes.
As Mum's health deteriorated, (and she was eventually declared 'legally blind' ) Dad had to learn how to cook! There some disasters, and a few terse words I'm sure, on occasions, but it was a case of 'have to' - or send out for Meals on Wheels, and being fiercely independent, my parents were reluctant to seek outside help!
Over time Dad became the primary carer for my Mum and he did so with great love and compassion. They shared a strong and beautiful love affair for almost 74 years. THAT in itself is inspiring !
When I think of my younger years growing up in Box Hill, Dad used to scare the crap out of me at times, just by raising his voice to growl at us! He was firm. No, actually he was tough! And incredibly strict, and HIS word was final! No if's or but's.
Mum stood by him. They were a strong, tight unit together (even though there were times that I know Mum may not have been in agreeance, and would have relented if we'd pushed hard enough!)
But what inspires me most about my Dad is his strength. I'm not talking physical strength here, but his emotional strength. His moral strength. His strength of love and devotion and commitment to a beautiful marriage (that I'm certain had it's ups and downs over 70 years). His strength to keep going and not give in when his health & heart attacks challenged him. His strength when he told me he was 'not ready to go yet, because he knew we needed him even more' when my sister passed away from Ovarian cancer. His integrity, honesty and loyalty. And his wonderful sense of humour!
Dad can be deeply philosophical, quietly religious and even quite the romantic. I recall numerous occasions where he performed sweet, romantic deeds for my Mum over the years.
Yes, I'd have to say that on my "list" of people who inspire me - my Dad would have to be Number 1 on that list. And I am so proud to say he's my Dad. I feel so blessed.
In this "People Who Inspire Me" series, I deliberately left him till last - not only because I wanted to time it with him turning 96 - but also - dare I say this? I found this the hardest blog to write! Hesitating, because I didnt want to feel like I was writing a Eulogy!
I am very pleased to also add that this week, Dad & I agreed that we should look forward to next year and celebrate him turning 97 as well!
As I type this, Dad might have slowed down a little over the last few years, particularly since Mum passed away, but he still drives his car to the library each week, or to the tram stop if he needs to go into the city, and up to the local IGA to buy his groceries. He generally reads 3-5 books a week. He continues to enjoy live theatre and the Opera (he gave away going to the ballet after Mum died).
Inspiring? Oh without a doubt! thank you my darling Dad for being you!