On the other end of the phone Dad was rummaging through storage boxes.
“Oh look, I found one of your old drawings. You drew me a mermaid and it says ‘Happy Birthday Dad” he said bursting into laughter.
I chuckled as nostalgia overcame me.
Dad had migrated when I was three to make a better life for us. Like most families, our stories were complex.
I grew up mostly without his physical presence but he was always there.
He phoned as often as he could, sent me whatever I needed and ensured my library was ever growing. There was always a new storybook or some crafty device to harness my creativity.
Written with love
And he wrote. He handwrote frequent letters baring his love and sharing his stories of life without me in the Big Apple. Replying to Dad’s letters was both duty and hobby, which I took pride in. And I shared mostly everything with him. More than I shared with anyone else. My triumphs and defeats at school, my adventures with my two parrots, and life on the sunny little island that I called home. He commented on how beautiful my hand-writing was, and corrected me when I misspelt a word. Exchanging letters with Dad was my classroom, and he was a most loving teacher.
Years later when I stumbled unknowingly into the world of journalism, I wondered how I’d gotten there. I don’t believe in coincidence. I had always loved writing, even when the hard work of it challenged and annoyed me. The more I wondered how I’d gotten there, into journalism, blogging and now authoring books, I realised it was Dad’s influence.
He wasn’t physically there but he instilled a strong culture of reading and writing in me. And he tagged along for the ride.
Dad still has letters that I wrote him at the age of 5. When I read back one of those, I laughed so heartily. I could see very clearly, that as uncertain as I may feel now about life and the future, the 5 year old me was confident and steering towards a road filled with writing and sharing stories.
Whatever uncertainty there is, I dare say, sharing stories with the world is more than enough.
Thank you Daddy.
Happy Father’s day to all the awesome Dads out there:)
Love Alisha x