Promise to tomorrow 34 #Dad

It is Father’s Day and likely to be last one for the man who joined with me to bring life into this world. His fathering going beyond biology to a deeper place where what it means to be human is at the centre of parenting, not solely the genetic code exchanged, incubated and grown. The cellular level of life is magical and mystical and when mixed with all the environmental variables brings plenty of challenges – as all parents know. There is a numbness when the realisation arrives you are not in control of what genes, what influences, what decisions are made and your parenting is improvisation because every opportunity arrives in its own unique packaging. Being a Dad is not the same as being a father and there is a wonderful scene from MASH about that worth watching.

Charles: “I always assumed that that’s how it was in every family. But when I see the warmth, closeness, the fun of your relationship… My father’s a good man. He always wanted what was best for me. But where I have a father, you have a dad.”Sons and Bowlers Originally Broadcast: Monday, March 22nd, 1982 Written by Elias Davis & David Pollock Directed by Hy Averback

With all the hyperbole about same-sex marriage couples it’s worth calling out that being a Dad goes beyond supplying half the chromosomes. My Dad loved his footy, his books, thinking, education, food, wine, family. I didn’t notice him fathering other people, but I did notice him fathering me and my brothers. And even though he has been dead for a decade now, I still notice him fathering me. I often consider on what advice or reflect on what he might bring to my decision-making.

To become a father is not to arrive at a station called Dad and to stay there on the platform – you need to get on that train.

Fathering unfolds

Cuddles and coos

Sleepless nights

to more sleepless nights.

Being held

Holding being

Transits and eclipses

Dates and decisions.

Destiny: Dad

As the man who became the Dad of our children reaches the ends of his days I know they will have his wisdom to draw on forever. They will have their first hand experience of their own relationship with him, the knowledge gained through observation of watching him with others, fecund imagination to draw on from his energy and spirit – a gentle soul, firmly grounded in his relationship to his Abba. He often talks about that – a ‘Daddy’ as opposed to a stern masculine Zeus like god; his relationship is deeply personal with deep roots. It is a relationship made for two only – no third party can penetrate – it’s just the two of them. And so it is with each of his children – just the two of them in these intimate spaces.

At each of the baptisms we sang Bob Dylan’s Forever Young as a blessing for them and it was in the spirit of wanting them to stay like children – open to wonder and surprises; willing to take risks when it seemed right to do so, to build, climb from a strong and firm place in their lives. Good fathering has enabled each of them to grow into their potentialities, examine truths, speak their truth to power and rest in the confident knowledge they are loved. This doesn’t come easily for any parent and for a father who might have wanted a first XI cricketer and got someone with an aversion to sport … these are trivial and unimportant for the harvest is abundant. Destined to be a Dad, he is joyful, glowing, still singing his song, and his voice will be a blessed earworm for all of their days.

My promise to tomorrow is to call out the difference between being a father and being a Dad.

“Forever Young” by Bob Dylan

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the light surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.


4 thoughts on “Promise to tomorrow 34 #Dad

  1. ChristineBelford

    Thank you for enhancing the complexion of the day. So pleased to be reminded of the words of Bob Dylan’s song.


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