For a large part of my formative years, my dad was my hero. Wherever my dad was, that’s where I wanted to be. He made me feel special and safe, and always taught me new and interesting things.
We spent hours in the garden, weeding and planting, even collecting worms for fishing. I hate to publicly out him, but the fish were few and far between and I couldn’t have cared any less; I was there to spend time with my dad.
I have always looked a great deal like my dad and had many of his mannerisms and personality traits, all of which made us best pals when I was young. As the teenage years approached, these commonalities had just the opposite effect. Everything he did was annoying, embarrassing and down right obnoxious. I rolled my eyes at all of his jokes and turned down fishing trips in favour of weekends with my friends.
I can clearly recall the day my mom kindly pointed out that when I was older, I would wish I had spent less time criticizing my dad and more time appreciating him. I remember it so vividly because I already knew that, but was far too cool to admit that maybe my dad wasn’t actually so bad.
As a young adult, my dad was the first call when something went wrong. Need a new plug on the vacuum? Call Dad. Need help hanging the curtains in the living room? Dad, again. His value was that of an on-call handyman, but our relationship was evolving.
After finishing university and getting married, I unceremoniously took up residence in my parents’ home, along with my husband and stepson, while we waited for our daughter to be born. When I went into labour late one night and everyone else was sleeping, my dad laid down on the living room floor, feet on the couch beside me, watching infomercials for hours until it was time to go to the hospital.
When our baby girl was finally born, it was a kind of a full circle moment. My dad was overjoyed and so proud. He told everyone who would listen how incredible she was, watched her daily while I took a nap, entertained her so I could shower, and loved her more than I could have imagined possible.
Being a grandparent is one of his greatest joys, and watching him love my daughter is a privilege. He’s an even better papa than he is a dad, and that’s saying something. This man, who had gone from being my hero to my archenemy, has come back around again and returned to his rightful place as one of the very best people in my life, someone I’m genuinely lucky to celebrate this Father’s Day.
Alison Auline-Turley is a Powell River resident.