My family didn’t have the greatest weekend. My parents have just moved in to a beautiful, brand new home that they built with my little brother and after only a couple of weeks living there and while they were upstairs, someone broke in to their home smashing the glass pane of their door out back and attempting to steal my mum’s handbag and her car from the driveway. My dad actually caught the guy holding him there, with my brother’s help, until the police arrived.
Being faced with this and knowing that my dad and brother are the protectors of their home and their family, I got to thinking… Thinking about the ways they have looked after their girls, my mum, sister & I and also about the high bar they set for any other man who comes in to my life (luckily, I’ve found someone who reaches those dizzying heights). I have learned so much from my dad and even though I thought it was me handing out the life lessons to my baby bro, I have learnt invaluable lessons from him as well. These are the things they have taught me:
1. how to kick a ball.
This may seem very simple, but for as long as I remember my family has bonded over the kicking of a football on sunny days at picnics, in the park or at the beach. My dad taught me how to properly hold and strike a footy at a very young age and as much as I have used this skill when attempting to impress other boys, the main thing that I took away from it was a love of play and the importance of spending time with family. I have always had in mind that my own future children will be heavily involved in outdoor activities away from the television where they will be exposed to the idea of good sportsmanship and to being active while soaking up some vitamin D.
2. if you work hard, you can achieve anything.
My dad and my brother are incredibly hard and loyal workers. Dad has been in the same job for over 25 years working to provide for us and my brother always knew exactly what he wanted to do and has worked extremely hard throughout his teenage years to prove naysayers wrong in achieving his goals. These things did not come easily to them, they work nose to the grindstone to reach their goals and as a result I am optimistic about the wonderful possibilities out there for me if I set my mind to it.
Not only are they dedicated and successful in their careers, they are also the most beautifully generous people I know, who expect nothing in return.
3. Liam Neeson is cool, but my dad and brother are better.
Have you all seen Taken, where Liam Neeson plays the ass-kicking dad character who rescues his kidnapped daughter? And you know how obsessed I am with comic book heroes, right? Well, if you told me I could have Mr Neeson for a dad and Clark Kent for a brother, I would very quickly decline that offer and keep the ones I already have.
Just try to mess with me and you’ll be dealing with greater repercussions than Liam Neeson’s “very particular set of skills”. Instead, you’ll be dealing with my personal knights in shining armour who have always protected me and who I trust wholly to always do so in the future. The best thing about the way dad and brother have my back is the fact that sometimes they let me stumble on my own and I am stronger for it, but they are never too far away if I need some help finding my feet again.
4. i matter.
Not only do they protect me, they also remind me daily that my thoughts, feelings and interests all matter. I am completely different from my dad and brother. Obviously, the biggest difference being that I’m a big girly girl, but on top of that I live in a very romanticised world of my creating. Dad and brother are realists. However, when I talk, they listen. When I’m upset, they offer their shoulder. When I succeed, they tell me they’re proud. The fact that they let me be me in all of my gloriously emotional messiness without ever making me feel weak or silly means the world to me.
Even though we have our argumentative moments and differences, I have been taught that family is everything, which says it all really. That sentiment always ends up winning out over any stubbornness.
This is the same life lesson I said my mum and nan taught me. I guess I’m extremely lucky to have such a close family… don’t even get me started on my amazing best friend of a sister!
So thank you to my daddy, my hero. Thank you for giving me everything, for always rescuing me, for always doing your best to understand me and for always giving me hugs and saying you love me out loud, no matter how ‘old school’ you might be. And thank you to my big, little brother for letting my sister and I rope you in to our girly games as kids, for not thinking of me as your embarrassing big sister (not out loud anyway), for going out of your way when I need help, for letting me know I can always call on you if I’m in trouble and for stepping up and being the man of the house when needed. I love you both with all of my heart.