My friend took paternity leave. That’s what he did: left his cool and promising job for a year (or maybe even longer) and took paternity leave. It turned out that difficult negotiations with Norwegians are not so interesting as twisting his daughter’s first ponytails. It turned out that in his huge strong hands, his little daughter falls asleep faster. It turned out that showing her this world is the most engaging work you can think of.
My friend doesn’t like children. He simply doesn’t like them. And he is honest about this. He doesn’t offend them, he simply avoids any contact with other people’s children, but at home he, bearded and giant man is melted as butter by two funny kids, for the sake of whom he is ready for anything in the world even to be the most favoured daddy for dozen of other children at the playground. And he can spend hours spinning them like a merry-go-round, arranging quests for them, and even forgets, how much he doesn’t like other children’s sticky hands.
Other friend’s Facebook looks like Instagram of a young mom. The eldest granddaughter reads her first book, the younger granddaughter rubs his beard with porridge, they both hang on him like funny monkeys while he tries to do some kind of household chores. In this grandfather, probably no one sees a serious and strict boss. But even when he was a strict and serious his daughter often waited for him at home until midnight and was afraid to take a nap, so as not to miss his goodnight hugs.
My friend has recently made of wood an exact copy of some Ancient Rome sword to protect his daughter from monsters who suddenly lodged under her bed, in a wardrobe, behind a curtain in a room of his little beauty. Now his daughter soundly sleeps all night, hugging her daddy’s sword.
My dad was my best friend. He didn’t hover above me like a horrible mentor, he loved dreaming with me about everything in the world and read books to me. He didn’t give me any advice, he just helped to make a decision with all its consequences. It was he to whom I could come with the worst deeds and most terrible sins. To come and know that under any circumstances he would accept me and give strength to come everything through. He left us too early and too quickly, leaving behind hundreds of unfinished conversations. Perhaps, it had to be so. Now, already twenty years, I myself have been looking for answers to the questions, something I proof, something I learn, something I change. And for all these twenty years I incessantly talk to him. Actually, last time we spoke until dawn in the kitchen arguing around the protagonist of a book. And only the need to wake up early put our conversation on hold. My dad wasn’t an exemplary dad – he like everyone else made mistakes but he could admit them and rectify. He asked me when I was a little kid for forgiveness for excess emotions and improper actions. He didn’t know answers to all the questions but he could look for them. He was an ordinary dad but the best friend.
Of course, after a while, I wished I had had roughly the same dad for my children. Today, Nadiyka woke her dad up with the words, “Daddy, you are my favourite superhero.”
Happy Father’s Day, superheroes! May your superpowers and ability to love, support and protect be with you.