“Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father!”
~Lydia M. Child, Philothea: A Romance, 1836
70 years ago, one day after Germany signed the military surrender that ended WWII, a boy was born in a hospital in Sydney. Can you imagine the joy that his mother must have felt? It must have seemed like all was right with the world again. The war was over…and she had a son, a brother for her daughter. Now I’m sure that there were many sons born that day to relieved and overjoyed mothers, and in a world where amazing, scary and emotional things were happening in rapid conjunction, David’s birth mightn’t seem that earth-shattering.
But it did change the world…..my world and the world of many who know him. Because that baby was my father and on the last day of May, we got to gather together….. one wife, nine children, eighteen grandchildren and many in-laws, family members and friends to celebrate what a wonderful, giving, quirky and gently loving man my father is.
We were there with our cameras, snapping footage where we could, as a gift for my parents and it was such a pleasure to put together a short video for them, capturing the afternoon and the very high esteem that people hold for my father. I think everyone can be guilty of taking their parents for granted at times, and I can certainly sheepishly put my hand up and claim that attitude.
There is a saying, often attributed to Mark Twain, that “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” For me, it’s the familiar adage of ‘now that I have teenagers of my own, it has made me reassess the patience and value of the parenting that was shown to me’. It was moving to hear so many people stand up and talk about the value that my dad had brought to their lives and it also doubly made me appreciate the genuine closeness of my family and the willingness to be vulnerable and express love. As I get older, and through my own experiences and listening to others, I realise more and more what a gift that is and one that should not be taken lightly. This day also made me thankful once again for the opportunity to work in this industry, to have the skills to be able to capture somewhat the memories of the day in a lasting memento that we’ll all be able to access at will.