When my two sisters were born, during the late 40s and early 50s, having fathers in the birthing suite wasn’t the done thing. However, just under 20 years later when I was born, hospitals had come to realise that Dads might like to be a part of the special moment when their child enters this world, and going in to the birthing suite became de rigueur.
On the night my Mum went in to labour with me, my Dad was so excited - and anxious to get to the hospital - that he left the house, switching off all the lights. Which sounds a very practical thing to do, except that my sister and some of her friends were sitting in the lounge room at the time. ;)
On arriving at the hospital, my Mum was given the option to have my Dad in the room with her during the birth. She, at first, politely declined - mostly, because she hadn’t done it that way with my sister’s births. However, it wasn’t too long before Dad received word that my Mum had changed her mind. (Turns out a stern midwife prompted the change of heart by saying: “You know Mrs G, it’s your husband’s baby too.”) Excitedly arriving at the doors to the birthing suite, my Dad found them, not surprisingly, closed. Anxious to get inside, he pushed the “doorbell” on the wall for assistance. Except that it wasn’t a doorbell. It was, of course, an emergency button. By all accounts, about 10 doctors and nurses came out of nowhere.
I have a favourite photo of my Dad and I (below). I’m 17 years old and I’m hugging him with a big, excited smile on my face. My dad has his arm protectively and lovingly around me with a smile that matches my own. He’s wearing his workman’s overalls, and we are standing on the site where he was building a carport at the time for my newly acquired Datsun 120Y (hey - who didn’t have one of those, or at least a 180B, in the 80s?). Dad has always been good at providing shelter for us, both structurally and figuratively speaking.
On Sunday, I’ll call my Dad in Perth, and when I ask how he is he’ll reply (as always), “Aah, Jodie. I’m battling along bravely in the face of fearful odds!” I wish I could be with him, but I know he understands. He, and Mum, have only ever wanted for me to be happy. And I am just so grateful for that.
Will you be celebrating with your dad this Father's Day? Is your Dad still with you? If not - what's a great memory of time spent with your Dad?