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Photo by Luke Besley on Unsplash

‘On the night you were born,
I took you and showed you the moon.’
It took you more than two decades to tell me that,
You pretend to be stoic,
But every so often you give yourself away,
A gold Saint Christopher to accompany me on my travels,
A revelation on the morning of my black belt grading,
You pepper them in,
These sentimental gestures
Scattered throughout the years,
And by so doing,
You reveal your true nature.

You started with the moon,
But you showed me so much more,
You showed me how to treat people,
And sent me off into the world
With an iron-clad set of principles,
Instilled in your quiet, unassuming way,
Far from the loud, dictatorial methods
Adopted by some parents to little avail,
You gifted me your unwavering sense of right and wrong,
And a determination to always be the bigger person,
No matter how tempting the other options may be.

You showed me that not all of life would be fun,
But I should work hard nonetheless,
That procrastination is pointless,
Crack on and get it done,
Whatever is,
And when life gets hard
I should dig in my heels,
Not throw in the towel,
I have little patience for the towel-throwers
And procrastinators of this world,
You taught me not to be one,
And therefore I am not.

You showed me how men should conduct themselves,
Furnishing me with expectations
So fantastically high
That most were doomed to disappoint me
In the end,
Much later I realised:
The reason for my disappointments was you,
I grew up thinking they all had that much grit,
That much resilience in the face of adversity,
But alas, they did not,
A killer of a lesson,
But an important one to learn.

You showed me that the worst can happen,
That tragedy can strike
And you can still go on to be happy,
That a childhood marred by loss can still be magical,
Threaded through with love, laughter and exploration,
Summers by the sea and walks in the woods,
A garden that will live in my memory forever,
With one parent gone,
Everything hinges on the strength of the other,
If you had gone to pieces,
We would have too,
But there was never any question of that.

You started with the moon,
But you never stopped showing me things,
Books, films, morals, music
All intertwined,
You showed me the world
And how to navigate it,
An education more valuable
Than any programme of study,
Even to this most avid learner,
And a job better done
Than you will ever know
Or allow yourself to acknowledge.

Written by

Lauren Phillips is a language teacher and writer with a deep love of words in all their forms. She uses writing to help her process her own tangled thoughts.

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