I have written about my Mum before and how she is my best friend but I realised that I rarely mention my Dad on my blog.
My Dad is quite simply, the most wonderful Dad you could have. He couldn't be more different to my Mum, probably one of the reasons their marriage didn't work, and their parenting styles while we were growing up were very different.
My Mum was the 'soft' one. She was the one who spoilt us, and who let us do the 'naughty' things- like buy us the odd drink of alcohol when we were underage, or let my first boyfriend sleep over in my room. My Dad was stricter, and you knew you couldn't mess with him if he was serious about something. Whereas my Mum shouted all the time, and when I was young I didn't really listen, my Dad only had to look at me before I stopped playing up. I only think I ever heard him raise his voice about four times, but when he lost his temper it was scary.
Growing up, he worked a lot, starting his own successful chain of businesses, but at the weekends I remember having so much fun with him. He would always play with me- flying kites, riding our bikes, going swimming and throwing me in the air because I liked it so much...my childhood was full of doing active activities with him.
Yet at the same time he had an affectionate side. He would carry me up the stairs to bed in a 'fireman's lift' and I would giggle in delight. On the day I first started my period I was confused and a little upset and I remember my Mum telling him on the phone while he was at work- he came home with a chocolate orange and gave me a big hug even though he probably had no idea what to say!
He has my exact same sense of humour, a bit wry and sarcastic and I think he is one of the funniest people I know. I remember so many times almost wetting myself laughing with him- in fact once I did when we were on a bike ride and he rode the rest of the way home with my wet cycle shorts on his handlebars!
Now myself and my sister have become adults, I swear he has become even more affectionate. He never ever gets off the phone without saying 'I love you' and he sends us the cutest text messages. He still treats us like we are little, ringing to make sure we are ok, and to constantly badger us that our cars are safe! He is incredibly gentle, and loving, yet still makes me laugh so much. We have a great relationship.
On my wedding day, we decided that he wouldn't do a speech because while we had 100 people to our party in the evening, our actual wedding meal was small and intimate with only 40 people, and I didn't want him to be under pressure. He said therefore he would do us a toast at the start of the meal. He did that at the start and I was happy and thought that was at the end of it. However at the end of the meal, he clinked his glass, stood up and got a letter out of his pocket. He proceeded to read aloud the most beautiful letter he had written to me starting it 'My Darling Katie'. It was perfect- a mixture of funny, poignant, sad and emotional- nearly everyone there had tears in their eyes by the end of it- he even made some of Mr E's grown male friends cry and say it was the best wedding speech they had heard. He had written it the night before, and his plan was that if he felt nervous he would not have read it aloud and just given it to me.
I will treasure it forever.
He had two little girl's in me and my sister and now he is a Grandpa to my two little girl's. Mads just adores him, and she cannot wait to go and spend the day with 'Nana Jacqueline and BumPa.'
Watching him run around the garden chasing Mads, or cuddling Baby LL in his arms gives me a glimpse of what he must have been like with us when we were really young. My Mum says he used to walk around the room with me for hours and rock me as I wasn't a great sleeper.
I love watching him with MY girls as I can imagine how he must have been with HIS girls.
My wonderfully affectionate, slightly soppy, yet incredibly funny and sarcastic Daddy.
The first man in my life.
Grandpa and LL!