“On behalf of every man, Looking out for every girl, You are the god and the weight of her world.” ~ John Mayer, ‘Daughters’
Let me start by wishing a Happy Father’s Day to all the Fathers out there. I don’t think I had the remotest idea of how hard your job is until the last 4 years. This awareness has come partly from watching my big brother be a Father to two rough and tumble boys and from finally understanding how deeply intertwined with my own Father I am.
As it happens, these two men in my life, Dad and Brother, are also both Creatives. Surprise, surprise. In fact the Creative Gene is inescapable in our family. Dad was (I should stay ‘is’ as you never really stop being so) a Musician, Singer-Songwriter in the early years of my parents marriage. I may be biased, but he has the voice of an angel and wrote so beautifully. He and my Mum toured around the world with a Christian missionary group in the late 70’s, early 80’s. He sang, she danced (apparently mum sang backing vocals too, but they would switch her microphone off, which still breaks my heart!). Even after they had my brother they took him with them in a Moses basket (no wonder he ended up a Creative too). When my brother and I were really little my Mum taught dance. We used to call Mum ‘Mary Poppins’ when we were little because we saw her as ‘practically perfect in every way’. My Mum is the most wonderful cook. I still can’t get my head around how she did it all and seemingly with ease. I unfortunately don’t take after her completely in this respect, although she did teach me how to bake, made play-dough for us and introduced me to salt-dough, so I certainly have her to thank for that. When my brother was about 14 years old he decided he wanted to play the drums (after being virtually shoved off the piano stool by me when I was 4 years old. He quickly gave up on that one and I took over as the pianist of the family). Understandably, my parents were dubious, so he took to playing the bin lids with sticks in the back yard until they caved. He is the most accomplished professional drummer and has been in a successful for over 10 years. My brother is also an Illustrator and has created artwork for various professionals, including his and his wife’s floristry business Swallows and Damsons.
I like to think that my brother and I are relatively bright people (him more than me) and our parents tried to encourage our academia as well as creativity, I suspect in the hope that we wouldn’t wind up penniless and destitute Artists. But alas that one was out of their control and we have both wound up pursuing our passions. Despite some very hard times for both of us (I’m not going to lie to you, being a Creative is also a burden and doesn’t make you a millionaire) we’ve figured out our own way to do what we love, how to run a business and thus make ends meet. One of the most valuable things my parents taught me was that it is “who you are, not what you do” that is important. Again, sadly, who you are doesn’t guarantee a steady income, but it’s taken me until 31 to realise that I’m not overly ambitious, I don’t especially care for ‘Success’ in Society’s interpretation of the word and I will be fundamentally unhappy if I don’t do what I was so clearly built to do.
Which brings me back to my Dad. My Papa.
Amusingly it was Dad who took me shopping for clothes when I was a little girl (I still really value his opinion on my stylistic choices). It was Dad who got me playing the flute (reluctantly at first) in the church band and then singing and then singing and playing piano on my own. It was Dad who corrected my essays and taught me how to edit myself… Unfortunately there’s not a great deal he can do to help me edit myself in Life but he’s not a superhero! We are both introverts. We get exhausted by social gatherings. We have to gear ourselves up for certain events and conversations. We tend to shut down if things get a bit too much for us. We’re wonderful with people one-to-one. We have a VERY dry (often inappropriate) sense of humour. We have a low tolerance for bad manners. We like to take the mic out of each other. We’re compassionate, driven, perfectionists and love fiercely.
I took the opportunity of writing this blog to give my Dad a mini interview. I absolutely love his responses to my questions. Ever articulate, honest (another attribute I owe to him) and perfectly on point:
J: What’s one of the best things about having a daughter?
P: Seeing some of the better things about yourself in female form and version, and enjoying the affinity…!
J: What’s one of the hardest things about having a daughter?!
P: Hoping the dumber things don’t get passed too much. Wanting to protect.
J: Is there anything you have learned from me?
P: How to use beautiful (yours not mine) eyes to communicate all of things with force…!
J: How do you find being a Creative Man?
P: Wonderful at every opportunity to create and freedom is given. Frustrating when I don’t have the permission and freedom.
J: What’s it like having a creative daughter?
P: I love seeing it happening in lots of other ways and contexts, but with the same family DNA!
Thank you so much Dad for indulging your silly daughter and contributing to something that is rapidly becoming really important to me. Thank you for making me like you.
Because this blog thus far is all about the How To’s, I’m going to finish off by offering a little risky one for this occasion.
How To Be A Good Daughter
- Be thankful
- Be humble
- Be kind.