November 17, 2011
This is my Dad’s ‘I’m humouring you’ face. The face he makes when he’s doing something he’s not that impressed with doing - usually having his photo taken - but is doing it anyway because I’ve asked him to. He rolls his eyes and sighs at me, usually with some little remark that drips with sarcasm. But he does it. That’s how my Dad is.
When I was little, he would read me a bedtime story when he got home from work, usually multiple times, despite the fact he was dog tired and so hungry he was ready to start gnawing at the furniture. When my parents divorced, and I was still getting used to the two houses situation - he would bring my favourite stuffed toy round at midnight when I had forgotten it and subsequently tried and failed to go to sleep without it. When I’ve been rushed into hospital, he’s sat with me until the early hours of the morning, even though he had work the next day.
You don’t really notice the effort when you’re a child, you can’t really absorb the fact that your Dad is humouring you, giving you what you want because he can’t say no - no matter the cost to him. All you remember is that he was there, that he read that story - he made the silly Piglet voice that made you laugh - that he was there to give consistency and support, to hold everything up when there was a tremor through your life. He was there … that’s all that counts.
It’s only when you get older that you start to notice these things, that you appreciate what goes in to being a good parent, all those millions of little things from your life so far that you owe him for. It seems ironic, that it’s when you’re standing on your own two feet that you understand how far you’ve been carried.
But back to the photo. Today is my Dad’s birthday, and so I insisted - perhaps a little bossily - that he let me take a photo of him. Along with a bunch of faux catalogue poses - it was this expression that brought all those little moments flooding back. ‘Okay, Steph …’ it says ‘we’ll do things your way’.