Next week marks a special occasion.
My dad raises his bat, he's reached 50 not out.
He was only a few years older than I am now (23) when he too lost a parent. It was the day before my 1st birthday so i never really got to meet my grandad. As a child growing up I realised that my dad had a lot of his dad's possessions and photos, although I never got to witness their relationship I know he adored his dad.
People normally get the credit they deserve but not in my dad's case, not even close. It is easy to say a parent is someone you admire or look up to, my dad is my biggest inspiration. My motivation in life is my mum, my inspiration is my dad. Someone who has never strived for the luxury lifestyle or brand new car he is content with his mellow natures, walks in the woods with his dogs and close contact with brothers and sisters.
Our household was a typical one, when my parents had children my mum gave up her job at the fire brigade control room to raise the family whilst my dad would go out and earn the money. As a self employed horticulturist he owned his own nursery supplying aquatic plants to garden centres across the South West and beyond. As a child i remember in the spring and summer not seeing a lot of him because of the seasonal work and the effort he used to put in, often early starts and late nights, to look after his customers and moreover looking after us.
Despite my mum being diagnosed and having to deal with it personally, he had to carry on working and supporting his family. I know now looking back that he provided all 3 of us with a platform to succeed in life. A year before my mum passed he decided to sell his business and care for her full time and enjoy their time as a family together. As mum could now not travel abroad they decided to go on a camper van holiday up to Scotland to visit my mum's brother Clive. I didn't go on this holiday and it remains a big regret, as it turned out to be the last family holiday my mum would share with us.
After my mum died he had to play the role of mother and father, one that he did with aplomb, although it wasn't really his forte. He did everything to keep us happy and supported us through everything. One trait he shared in common with my mum was to never let anybody down, be it family or not. He also had the strength and courage to find love again, I know what its like to lose a mother, but I don't know what it's like to lose a wife, best friend and mother of my children. In spite of this he is now happily married again to a lady we all love and admire. She has been a big part of the reason for bringing happiness back to our family.
I didn't think i would be able to find the word that describes him best, but I did - Selfless - the act of sacrificing ones own interest for the greater good. A true role model to me in the past 7 years I owe all of what i have achieved in my life so far to him. He's backed all my ideas and career moves and been there to pick up the pieces when things haven't gone my way. He gives me drive and determination and I learn a great deal on how to deal with emotions by just witnessing how he acts. I will forever look up to him and am eternally grateful for the way he has brought us on.
He always reassures me that my mum is up there, looking down so proud of us.
What I know is that for the way he has dealt with everything, the honour he has shown to his family and the smile he always has on his face there is one thing for certain.
There is a man up there looking down on him so proud to call him his son.
This ones for you Dad.
Although the story of this song is not relevant to the relationship we have, it always reminds me of my dad because he used to, and still does, sing it. Especially the first verse.