Just for one day

Today I want my loud, laughing dad back from “death’s dateless night,” so we can guffaw, have a whiskey, eat too much food, carry on and argue. We’d have the cricket on and talk about the current parliamentary debacle, the Wallabies, travelling in Europe and the heartbreaking turmoil of the people trapped on Manus and Nauru. My dad would be wearing his heart on his sleeve, we would fight about something important, cry, forget about it an hour later and have another wee dram. I want to talk to my dad about his painful childhood, about growing up without a father, about how lonely he was and give him a huge hug because he survived and created a life for us that he could only dream of as a child growing up hungry.

I inherited your devotion to books, your sense of humour and your belief in the beauty of our fellow humans. It’s been 16 years and I miss you today and every day Jack Ernest. Wish you were here…

“Your love will live in my heart…”


Dear Father who art in heaven (I think)

My dad would have been 92 this week, but his body didn’t want to stay around that long. He was a devoted da and a workaholic. He taught me:

*To do what I love for a living (he wrote/edited over 100 books)

*Travel opens your mind

*A sense of humour will help you in the darkest days of your life

*A good swim in the ocean can clear your mind

*Hard work is good for the soul

*A tough childhood doesn’t define the rest of your life

*Even if you haven’t had your own dad, you can achieve a lot

*Dancing a slow tango in the kitchen is magical

*Kids raised by single mums are tough

*A full fridge means you are doing really well

*Stray dogs are worth rescuing

*Some days we must get up and go to work even when we think we can’t

*Singing love songs is great for families

*Lovingly made freshly squeezed orange juice is better than an expensive restaurant breakfast

*Taking your kids back to your old childhood haunts opens their eyes

*Listening to the stories people tell you will help you learn about the world

*Love is a verb

*Singing to your kids at bedtime may soothe them or freak them out

*Saying yes to new opportunities is scary but worth it

*Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

 

16 years without him have gone by in a flash. I would sacrifice a few of my toes to see one of his cheeky smiles, hear his laugh and have a hug.

My dad was the Prince of Kings Cross

 

 


Oh daddy oh

Last Sunday I posted a picture of me wearing a T-shirt with the words

REAL MEN PAY CHILD SUPPORT

emblazoned across it. There was a big reaction. Some men reacted with the predictable ‘not all men,’ and one friend responded like this,

Nothing but a walking sperm donor, he doesn’t get to be honoured with the title of DAD. I have nothing but respect and awe for the strength and perseverance you’ve shown in being both mum and DAD. Too bad some other men are so fragile as to think you are talking about them.

Another response was,

When men who don’t pay child support are shamed, they tend to retreat from discussion and challenge on the subject. They go into a defensive stance that blocks out even mild inquiry about their responsibilities, let alone an outright attack on their claim to manhood.

Which made one poster so mad, they said,

Why don’t the good men encourage these men to man up to responsibilities?

Can men can hold other men to a set of values? The ‘men’ I know who dodge paying for their kids have no values and feel no shame, they’re not capable of it. And their families don’t hold them to account. They come from a long line of men who avoid responsibility and any kind of admission that their behaviour needs to change.

 

When a woman lives in constant financial stress, lying awake night after night wondering how she’s going to get by, worrying if the electricity is going to be disconnected, knowing she will send her children to school with sniffles because she doesn’t get paid if she takes a day off work, her kids suffer. The children become stressed because their mother is not present. She’s not focused on her kids, she’s too worried about how she’s going to pay the rent and when she’s going to get a good night’s sleep.

The slogan on my shirt had people showing their solidarity for those who have shared that experience, but obviously will not change any of the irresponsible behaviour. We have no effective laws that enforce good behaviour, and I don’t think the men who don’t pay child support will ever reach out to other men for support and guidance into responsibility, because they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. They collude with others like them, seeking to confirm the validity of their bad behaviour.

What annoys me most is the people who aid them. How does a ‘man’ go from earning $120K per year then within a week have a taxable income of $28K? How does a ‘man’ declare a taxable income of $19K a year when his rent and bills total more than $30K? How do these liars sleep at night?

I understand not respecting or trusting your ex, but making your children suffer? I don’t get it.

Julie London – Daddy


The fortysomething parents are not alright

Gen X are overwhelmed, no wonder the divorce rate is so high


Mama said knock you out

As my 87 year old mother’s brain drifts further away into dementia, I realise that I don’t have much time left with her.Yesterday my kids and I took her for a lovely beach walk in a place where I spent a lot of time misbehaving as a teenager. So today I’m celebrating some of the gifts my mama gave me. Thanks to my mum I spent my childhood listening to great singers and story tellers. My mum has a wonderful voice and she loved singing to me when I was small. When ‘Songs In The Key of Life’ came out we would sing along to Stevie Wonder together. Love you mumma, thanks for your sense of humour and your songs


Día de los Muertos

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought

I summon up remembrance of things past,

I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,

And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:

Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,

For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,

And weep afresh love’s long since cancelled woe,

And moan the expense of many a vanished sight:

Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,

And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er

The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,

Which I new pay as if not paid before.

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restor’d and sorrows end.


That Old Black Magic

My Dad used to take his teeth out and scare my sister and I by singing this song in the dark when we were growing up. I loved it and my sister hated it. Today would have been my Dad’s 86th birthday. Love you Dad.