Men logo

Me and My Dad

A Journey Through Life

By Natasja RosePublished 9 months ago Updated 9 months ago 7 min read
21
Me and My Dad
Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash

I was really glad to see Vocal put out a challenge to do with Father's Day.

While it is a universal truth that women and mothers tend to shoulder the bulk of the caregiving, it's also important to acknowledge those Dads who do step up and take an active role in their children's lives.

My Dad wasn't around much when I was a child, and he moved to another country after my parents split up when I was fifteen. Despite that, he's one of the best Dad's I know, and I wouldn't ask for another.

My twin and I were born at 28 weeks in 1986, and the fact that we both made it out of the hospital alive was, at the time, a medical miracle. Seriously, there was a newspaper article and everything!

Sally spent the first months of her life hooked up to tubes and wires, and the first few years battling just about every childhood illness known to mankind, and possibly a few that weren't documented yet. Against the odds, we thrived, but Sally had a host of learning and health issues that weren't cheap to deal with. Dad worked for IMB at the time, which let us afford the then-experimental epilepsy medication and therapies.

Unfortunately, it also meant a lot of time overseas at various Conferences, and only being home about half of the year.

I don't fault him for that, since I might not be alive now without those medicines, and it made the time he was home all the more precious and valuable to me.

Some of my earliest memories are of sitting with my Dad in the sunroom, with him either reading to me, or helping me read through a book on my own. I was something of a precocious reader, but books designed for Primary School kids sometimes had words that my 3-year-old self hadn't come across yet.

My parents seperated with I was fifteen.

They'd been struggling for years, fighting constantly, and now Dad had fallen in love with another woman.

He hadn't cheated, but he knew that those feelings weren't going to go away, and that he and Mum hadn't been in love with each other for a long time. He was honest, with her and with my sisters and I, that he was the reason behind the separation, and specifically told us not to be upset with Mum about it.

Having seen some of my friends go through the messy divorces that came with cheating and long-term afairs, I respected my father for his integrity, for doing what was difficult but right, instead of the easy wrong thing. I was sad, but my parents were parting as friends, rather than bitter strangers who couldn't even be in the same room as each other. They hadn't been happy together, and I supported them being potentially happy with other people.

Mum found the guy she's been with for 20 years and counting only a few months later, so I wonder if she wasn't more relieved than upset, too.

My little sister did not take it so calmly, or so well, and made her dislike of the situation Everyone Else's Problem throughout High School and well into her University years. No matter how much Dad pulled out all the stops trying to get back into her good graces, she'd throw the divorce in his face at every opportunity, constantly disrespected and abused both of our parents' new partners, then acted sweet as soon as she wanted something, and went right back to nasty as soon as she got it.

My Dad was the first person I came out to. He'd never heard the word Asexual as applied to a person, rather than in a scientific sense, and required some explanation on the concepts of what Panromantic and Demisexual actually meant, but his biggest concern was that I would be safe and happy. I never expected him to react in any other way.

It wouldn't be until later, with my first serious relationship, that I learned just how rare and valuable supportive parents are in the LGBTQ+ community. One of my ex-partners was semi-seriously ready to marry me after meeting my Dad and Stepmother for the first time, so they could gain them by proxy.

I've never had to think twice about bringing someone home to meet my Dad, and I've always been able to trust that if I ask for advice, Dad will give it to me straight.

When I was having an internal crisis about ending my first serious relationship, Dad listened without judgement, hugged me, and bought ice cream while I word-vomited my internal conflict. By the same measure, Dad was the source of very helpful advice with the first person I ever dated, who was nice but quite immature, and had a family who were the dictionary definition of gold-diggers.

19-year-old me was surrounded by older co-workers who were getting engaged or married, and casually asked how you know when to make a relationship serious. Dad clarified that I was asking in a hypothetical sense, but also in the sense of "Ryan is a friend and we've been on two dates, but I don't know if I'm romantically interested or just feeling outside pressure."

We then had a long talk about the importance of choosing the right partner for you, not just the person who was there and expressing interest. Also, while Dad would never disown any of us (except possibly for appearing on a Paris Hilton Reality TV show), if I decided to marry that specific boy whose parents were already eyeing up my inheritance, Dad would insist on a pre-nup to lock down any chances of them benefitting financially from me.

I feel like a lot of teenage girls would have been outraged at the very idea, but I already knew that Ryan's home life was a trainwreck of epic proportions, and that this potential future restriction stemmed from concern for my well-being, not out of a desire for control. Dad and I have similar thought patterns, which may be part of why we get on so well.

During Pride Month, the fact that I have a supportive and inclusive father feels even more important to mention.

My mother didn't discourage my authorial ambitions, but she didn't make a secret of the fact that she didn't think I could make a career out of it, either.

My Dad was open and realistic about the statistics of people who actually manage to be full-time writers, and gave me some very valuable advice: "Do it, but don't quit your day job."

To some, this would feel like a derisive or scornful remark, but I appreciated it. Dad supported me, and was always willing to read over my work, and acted as an early editor before I managed to find a professional freelancer (and before my Beloved took over editing duties), but he didn't want me to be a literal Starving Artist.

Hearing this advice in my teens let me balance my writing with a less-demanding career, by the time I was old enough to get a job. My particular role in the Healthcare industry lets me leave my work at work, instead of bringing it home with me like certain other jobs, and allows enough free time to get some writing done afterward. The 90 minute commute to and from work leaves me plenty of writing time.

I have a day job that keeps the bills paid while I work on making my passions profitable, and that's all I really wanted out of my career.

I don't want the prestige of a glamorous job, or to have a handful or dozens of people relying on me for their jobs. I just want to earn enough to live off, with some extra for holidays and luxuries on occasion.

Knowing that my Dad isn't going to harp on me about not aiming for a prestigious job like my sister's career as an Occupational Therapist, or following him into Crypto, has always been a huge weight off my back.

It seems like whenever I'm on the internet, I see stories about parents, particularly fathers, who are uninvolved with their childrens lives, or worse, who the child actively cut out of their lives due to toxic, negligent or abusive behaviour. I'm grateful beyond words that I'll never have to fact that.

My Dad volunteers with Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. He does 'Angel Flights', transporting people free of charge over long distances for life-saving medical care. He provided a good example of integrity in relationships for me to follow, something I'll always be grateful for.

Father's Day in Australia isn't until September, so I'll probably completely forget to mention it on June 19th, amid playing our usual weekend phone tag as we try to match up availability across international timezones.

Either way, I love you, Dad.

By Heike Mintel on Unsplash

If you liked this story, check out my other original works on Amazon and Vocal! Check me out on Medium for non-fiction and other articles!

InspirationFatherhoodCultureparents
21

About the Creator

Natasja Rose

I've been writing since I learned how, but those have been lost and will never see daylight (I hope).

I'm an Indie Author, with 30+ books published.

I live in Sydney, Australia

Follow me on Facebook or Medium if you like my work!

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  1. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

Add your insights

Comments (7)

Sign in to comment
  • Phil Flannery9 months ago

    He sounds like a man with a good heart. You have expressed your appreciation for him wonderfully.

  • Babs Iverson2 years ago

    Fabulous!!!💖💕

  • Such a great dad! Happy for you!

  • Cathy holmes2 years ago

    Incredibly well written tribute.

  • Great story and it sounds like you really lucked out having your dad as your dad.

  • A wonderful tribute to your dad

  • Mariann Carroll2 years ago

    Beautiful, hearted ♥️Cool dad for sure.

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.