My Men of Substance; A Father's Day Tribute

2:00 pm

"A "Daddy's Little Girl" is the one who would rather get her hands covered in engine oil with Dad, than stay in the house and bake buns with her Mum."
- Mishelly
With Father's day encroaching rapidly upon us for yet another year, what better time than now to pay recognition and celebrate the first man in a Daughter's life, the only one that is guaranteed never to hurt her - her Dad!

So this year in honour of the men in my life I have decided to nominate them both as my Men of Substance! Tommy John, the men's underwear company started the Man of Substance campaign in honour of men like my Dad and Grandad.

Whether your Dad is a Father by biology, step, adoptive or foster nobody ever compares to a little girl's Daddy, and I definitely struck gold with mine.

Dad has stood by my side through the proudest and most challenging times of my life. From standing at the barriers watching me compete in my first skating competition at four - which he lost his job over -, to attending my University Graduation Ceremony, to helping me spread my wings and move into my own home at 24, my Dad has never let me down.  
From bringing me into this world to watching me grow into a woman my Dad has stood by my side with unwavering and unconditional love and support, to which I will forever be grateful. A Dad is the first man in a Daughter's life and is the standard by which she judges every other man, but let's be honest no one comes close to Dad.
I was that kid who would rather go fishing with Dad or help him build something in the shed that sit inside and play with Barbie Dolls and to this day I am happy to ditch anything to go and spend the day with Dad.  From going on motorbike rides and teaching me how to ride, to perusing through little antique markets on the weekend, or even just vegeing out on the sofa.  I still love nothing more that spending the day with Dad, just as much as I did as a child.

I have been blessed with an extremely close relationship with my Dad - I am aware that not everyone has that opportunity, due to a variety of circumstances - and from an extremely young age I remember always loving spending time with Dad. Whether that entailed rolling around on the living room floor wrestling, Dad sitting on the toilet playing the guitar while I had a bath, to letting me cuddle in when I was sick my relationship with my Dad has always been full of laughs and surprises.

"My Father didn't tell me how to live; He lived and let me watch him do it"
- Clarence B. Kelland

"A Grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart"

- Anonymous

As with Dad, I have always had a very close relationship with Grandad. I was lucky enough to spend my younger years living one street away from my Grandparents so I was there just as much as I was at home. Having countless sleepovers on the weekends with Gran and Grandad to running to their house when I had, had an argument with Mum they were always right there - no questions asked.
Most of my childhood memories with my Grandad revolve around weekends away with him and Gran at the caravan. From six weeks of age my Gran and Grandad would whisk me off to the caravan in Elie, Scotland, where I have accumulated some of the best memories of my childhood. From catching tadpoles by the sea and bike rides to the Clubhouse and the point during the day to building jigsaws and playing Scrabble with Grandad at night - what more could a Granddaughter want? -  It was at the Clubhouse where Grandad would buy us chips or a Freddo while Gran played Bingo and he would take me into the games room, where he taught me how to play snooker and obviously let me win every time.

From sitting on Grandad's knee driving the van up the driveway to driving his Hyundai through the caravan park. Singing a bit of Bob Marley and even some R. Kelly, Grandad has always been down for a laugh with us all.  From taking us to the driving range at St. Andrews - he's a bit of a golf fanatic - to driving me to and from music festivals Grandad has always been there when I need him and he would do anything for any of his four Grandkids.

Going from living one street away to living half way around the world to now living a half hour drive away.  My Grandad has always been there for me whether near or far. If I just wanted to have a bit of a whinge or I was super excited about something my Grandad has always been at the other end of a phone or just a short drive away with welcoming ears. Grandad always knows how to make me laugh even if it's the last think I feel like doing. He has been there for me through every hurdle I have ever had to face and he has supported my wholeheartedly in all of my endeavours, no matter how big or small - he is definitely my diamond in the rough.
But with all that said a Dad or a Grandad is not defined by being blood related. A true Dad and Grandad - well to me anyway - is any man who loves you unconditionally, putting your needs before his without any hesitation and raises you as his own. So this is a shoutout to all those Dads and Grandads around the world.  We may cause slight premature ageing, we may add a couple of lines to perfect uncreased face, we may even help grow a couple of grey hairs - well more than a few in my case - but, hey, in the words of Clarence Darrow;  "The first half or our lives are ruined by our parents, the second half by our children."

Dad (22) & Grandad (45); Tenerife, 1989 
Who is your Man - or in my case, Men - of Substance?

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