I don’t know what it’s like to lose my dad. Thankfully mine is still here. So I don’t know what it’s like to grow up without one but everyday I just watch my daughters to get a taste of what it must be like. To see them look out at the world and see that world as different to their own can be heartbreaking. When Evie lies in bed at night asking “why does Tess have a daddy and I don’t?” or when she says “it makes me sad that daddy isn’t here but Erin says I can share hers” – well it makes me shatter into tiny little pieces while I cuddle her and kiss her and try to make up for all those cuddles and kisses she misses getting from him. When Isla conjures up her tall tales about what her and daddy used to do together before he died it’s equally shattering. For Christmas I made each of the girls a baby book heavily featuring as many pics as I could of Daddy. This was quite a task when it came to Isla because he died when she was only weeks old. Now she goes to sleep every night kissing every fuzzy daddy pic I’ve cobbled together in her wee book and she tells me about each picture: “In this one daddy has just finished reading me my story – see there that’s the story book beside him on the sofa – and that’s me in my buggy waving to daddy, you can’t see him because he’s faraway – and that’s me and Evie on daddy’s knee and he’s just fed us our milk.” Every photo has a narrative elaborated by Isla who bases it very loosely on the truth she sees within the image in front of her. This week I found a Flip camera that Col and I bought when Evie was tiny, before we upgraded to iphones that had video on them. There are 54 short videos on it. The majority of them are of Evie in her stream of firsts: Her first smiles, her first bounce in the door bouncer, her first rollover and her first sweet potato feed. Col’s hands, Col’s voice and the back of his head appear but few of his face and his smile. I wish I had had the forsight to nudge the camera his direction a few more times just so we would have had more of him to remember. When I showed Evie and Isla the clips Evie was so excited and poor Isla was excited for her too. And then she said, where are the clips of me and daddy? I have none. Not one. Gutting. She’ll have to continue to elaborate on the few still images we have of her and him instead. Here is my favourite though. It’s the one that brought on the tears, of course. And it’s the one that makes me ache to give my girls back the daddy that adored them so that they wouldn’t have to grow up without him.
*Video being tricksy so trying to convert it to play