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  • Writer's pictureHelen Dalton

FROM THIS DAY FORWARD pt. 1 - Father’s Day

Updated: Aug 28, 2021

I wasn’t looking forward to my first ever Father’s Day without my dad. Mind you I don’t know when I last spent a Father’s Day with my dad as living overseas for 26 years now, and no memorable Father’s Day comes to mind which saddens me. I guess you don’t take Day’s like these into account when you fly the roost. There’s the one Father’s Day from childhood, that I kind of remember – don’t really remember the day as much as the gift. Not sure how old I was but I remember dad being gifted, courtesy of our pocket money, one of those ornaments (vintage now) with the big heads and “World’s Greatest Dad’ engraved tackily on the plinth on which the cheeky big-headed fella was attached to.

Dad’s last Father’s Day, courtesy of my sis, was in lockdown, she ordered and delivered to him an afternoon tea in his garden with social distancing, of course. I told her to throw in a bottle of Prosecco for them both to enjoy. She was recently going through the photos she had taken of last year’s festivities hoping to show me a snap of my dad enjoying his little feast – there were pics of the wonderfully arranged triangle sandwiches alongside cream cakes, beautifully presented in a gift box – dad always enjoyed his very British afternoon teas. We went through the pics together and she realized that there was not one pic of dad, not one. I know she’s sad that she had taken pics of the wonderful food but not of dad. I could hear it in her voice when she realized not one pic of the person whose Day we were celebrating.

Going back to last year - I do remember the conversation later that day with my dad when I phoned to 'check-in' to see if he had enjoyed his afternoon tea? My sis had already notified me that he had enjoyed the Prosecco the most, which was funny as when I spoke with him, he did say he felt a little ‘tipsy’.

There were no such conversations this year, in fact, I went through most of the day unable to acknowledge what day it actually was? With not having any kids – going forward, this specific day will just end up being the same as any other day, as I think of both my parents every day constantly.

Going back to the photos not just of last year but from the past 20+ years and looking back on old videos – family members filming the antics of my nephews and nieces, as babies, toddlers, etc. There are a few family videos where you can see parts of my parents but most of the time their heads are cut off or you are vying for the camera to go more wide-angled on viewing, which it never does, as your priority in those days was to record as much as possible the children – not realizing the future predicament of life without your parents. You are just longing and scrambling through the footage wanting to see a closeup or at least hear their voices again. There was no TikTok around when we were teenagers.

We were not a family of home movies – my parents did however invest in a video camera in the early ’90s and they brought this huge bulky camera along with them when they came over to visit me in the US. We visited Niagara Falls, spent time in Manhattan, I drove them down to Graceland – mum was a huge Elvis fan. I know we have some footage somewhere of that trip on a bulky tape that needs to be converted and I do remember the ‘incident’ of the lost NY tapes that were recorded over with episodes of Coronation Street. The memorable horse and carriage ride through Central Park was recorded over with "Jack and Vera from Corrie." What a sacrifice.

In honour of our dad’s 80th, my sister did convert a video – it was a video of my parent’s Silver Wedding Anniversary when they threw a big party at the local community hall. They had even splashed out on a ‘videographer’. We gathered in my sisters’ hotel room to view the footage with our dad and to reminisce. The video was hilarious in the fact that my parents appeared on it probably about 4 times, once to do their speech and I don’t think I was even in any of the recorded material. There was more footage of the DJ who was also ‘not so great.’ Funny to see, but again scrambling to see faces and conversations of loved ones with mum and dad and not just friends and neighbours. Then around the same time, my other sis spent quite a bit of money having another video converted. She relayed the story of both her and her husband settling in on the couch with ‘refreshments’ to watch and enjoy a video of mum and dad in the ‘good ole days.’ To their distress and confusion, they watched a video of a wedding that was a friend of a friend to my parents, and mum and dad being the ‘videographers’ were nowhere to be seen on any of the footage?? This was extremely confusing and hilarious for my sister who was shocked and traumatized in the fact that she had paid decent money to have this tape converted and to watch a video that my parents had filmed?? She did not know one person in the video. We later found out that my parents had been invited over to friends who had been invited to a wedding and had at the last minute invited mum and dad.

Now we have reached the digital age – both photos and film are so accessible – there is no extra cost in taking so many photos – and no surprises, not like way back, when you had to drop off your roll of film and pay for the processing to find out you had cut off parts of your relatives, or some stranger had walked through the shot, etc. Nowadays with the technology, thousands of photos are being taken of just about anything these days – take a look at the last 10 pics you took on your cell phone?? Spiders, flowers, insect bites, etc.

This is the golden age of selfies. I wish that I had taken a lot more ‘selfies’ in my youth but that technology wasn’t mainstream, and would I have taken pics with my parents anyway?? Would I have performed a TikTok video with my parents??

My first and last selfie taken with my dad

With Pink’s song’ Barbies’ – playing all day in my head during this past Father’s Day it really did reinforce the fact that I would give ANYTHING to go back and play with Barbies in my room, (well the Cindy doll – if you lived in the UK). Pink sings – how things do change so fast and where did the time go? Why as teenagers do we want to grow up so fast? People do warn you when you are growing up that all moments are precious, especially with your family, but we are still ignorant enough not to accept this, maybe because that advice comes from grief which being young – hopefully, many of us don’t experience this until later in life and until the moments with our loved ones are no more.

My friend’s husband passed away a few years ago and I vowed, after the fact, that all get-togethers should be photographed – not every moment is a ‘selfie’ moment but all moments spent with loved ones ARE PRECIOUS.

I know my sis is not one for taking selfies – our generation … not so much …. But I know she regrets not having a selfie taken with dad enjoying his afternoon tea from last year – his last ever Father’s Day – but who knew??.

So take those selfies – not just with your BFF but with all your loved ones – there will come a day when they are not by your side tilting or straining their neck to get into one of your selfie shots. Make those TikTok videos – even if you don’t appreciate them now – as time goes by you will.

Late in the afternoon, after a walk with some friends, we did raise a glass to all the heavenly fathers who are sadly missed – I raised my glass and wiped away a tear. Cheers to the ‘World's Greatest Dad.” You are missed x

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