"They always say that a daughter is the apple of dad's eye. I have but one daughter, Rebecca, who occupies a high powered job down in London. She is most certainly the apple of my eye. It is Rebecca's birthday today, and just in case she's advertising her wares on some dating site, I'll not disclose her age, less she knocked a few years off when making up her profile. All I'll say is that it's over 31 and less than 33. A very happy birthday, Becky. May your special day be filled with much happiness, love and generosity. I love you dearly.
Over the years, any discerning parent gets to know their children better than they pretend to know themselves. One quickly learns their quirky ways, unusual interests, patterns of behaviour and their methods of avoidance whenever faced with telling a truth they don't want you to know or revealing an embarrassment of being caught out telling some white lie, and in certain circumstances, a big whopper.
Our Rebecca, who has always had a morbid interest in weird things, crime and forensics, could easily have fitted into the role of forensic scientist, as she has a nose for sussing things out like a snoop (sorry, I mean private detective). I can guarantee that even if six months have passed between her visiting our busy house that is over-crammed with my paintings and curiosities, and where one new item has arrived on show or another disappeared or has simply been moved by the cleaner, she'll have sussed it out within half an hour of her arrival.
If Rebecca is anything other than the independent and self-reliant woman she has grown into, it is to be found in her attention to detail and her capacity to please. Generosity has never been a stranger to her daily habits and she is known on occasions to 'go over the top' with her gestures of good will and love. I was pleasantly surprised after coming out of the hospital after a scary month's stay as an inpatient over the Christmas period when inter-flora delivered one hundred daffodils and tulips for me and Sheila to brighten our day up. They were from our daughter Rebecca. She is probably the most selfless of my children and I feel so pleased and blessed that she is my daughter.
I was going through the drawers yesterday, attempting to tidy up when I came across a 'Dear Dad' card that Becky had sent me a few years ago after I told her that I had terminal cancer. All my children initially took the news badly, all reacted differently, but I'll never forget hearing Rebecca cry down the phone non-stop once the thought of losing her dad had entered her head. It was sad to tell all my children, but knowing how badly it would affect my daughter, it broke my heart to tell Rebecca. I knew, shortly after, when she sent me her 'Dear Dad' card that she sincerely meant every word contained on the card:
Did I ever say thanks for all the toys you bought and mended,
the games we played , the walks and outings in the parks and the woods, and the way you always tried to cheer me up when I was down?
Did I ever say thanks for the sacrifices you made, so that I could become
involved in so many sharing and in interesting activities?
Did I ever say thanks for working so hard to provide for our family? Did I ever say thanks for having such faith in me and always being there whenever I needed you? Most of all, Dad, did I ever say thanks for caring? Dad, I love you.'
I know you do, Rebecca, and I love you too. Have a smashing day, daughter. Love Dad xxx" William Forde: February 6th, 2017.