TITLE: Dadd'y Girl
By Bella Louise
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I can remember that every night Dad used to tell my younger brother Jon and I a story. This was a genuine story, mind you. Not some appallingly patronising story read from a book called “Bumper Boring Bedtime Book” or the like, with children called Susan and Philip sailing homemade boats on a stream that conveniently ran through the back garden, or making cookies with Auntie Jane. No, these were special stories. Stories made up specially for us. Now that I think about it, I'm sure when he was at work during the day, Dad must have thought about those stories, practising them in his head, reworking parts that didn't quite flow, making up voices for the different characters. Most of the time, they were his own characters; sometimes, though, he told stories using characters from children's' books. His speciality was Postman Pat.
Sometimes, Jon or I would chip in with our own ideas. No matter how obscure or surreal the ideas might have been (and believe me, obscure and surreal they always were), Dad would change the stories slightly to work it in. In the end, there were several different universes of characters. My brother's three-year-old input meant that one set of stories was about a talking coat hanger and a toy monkey who ate cereal mixed with orange juice. My own personal favourite, which I requested so many times that Dad could probably still tell it off-by-heart now, was “Postman Pat Eats Too Much Curry”, complete with sound effects. Even when Dad had to go away for the night, or sometimes for a week or two, because of work, he would tape stories for Mum to play for us every night. Dad has always worked about a twelve-hour day, so looking back, I realise what a labour of love they must have been.
Recently, I was watching the television with a friend, and an advertisement for a car came on. The ad itself made me smile, and the tagline made me nod in agreement:
“Because dads will do anything for their daughters.”
My friend responded with a sardonic snort, which made me sad. I've never known anything else but a dad like that. When I was little, I thought that everybody had a dad who would tell them stories and clean them up when they woke him at four in the morning announcing proudly, “Daddy, I bin sick,” instead of muttering “wake your mother.” It's sad, horribly sad, that so many people have never known a dad like that. It colours their idea of their Heavenly Dad, and it leaves them insecure and searching for acceptance. So many people, when they hear that God is our Father, think of abuse, think of somebody absent, or maybe just think of a father who spent so much time at work that his children weren't his top priority. They can't see that God is the type of Dad that I have, who absolutely loves to spend time with His children. My brother recently asserted “Dad would rather spend time with us than sleep,” with authority to a friend, who had suggested in a somewhat critical tone that after returning from a week of extremely hard work, the last thing a man would want to do is spend time with two grotty teenagers. And he's absolutely right.
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