Dean & Ang Portrait

My Dad is my mate. One of my best. I never thought I'd say this, and 15 years ago I wouldn't have, but my Dad is actually super-cool.

When my parents married around 40 years ago, they started with nothing but $50 to their names. They studied and worked incredibly hard. I call them nerds and they were, they openly admit it. Dad wore black thick-rimmed glasses, patterned shirts and gladiator sandals. Now he looks at all the hipsters and never fails to mention how 'ahead of his time' he actually was.

My Dad's an Accountant & Financial Advisor (see above – nerd), but he's also been a University Lecturer, Senator in Cambodia, a Rotary Club President and a killer Table Tennis player (and by 'killer' I actually mean he was quite aggressively bad). He's got the dad-jokes, freely sharing them with anyone who'll listen and he wears baker boy caps all the time.

My Dad and I try to see each other once a fortnight. We'll grab a coffee and chat about life and what's going on in the world. He lets me vent my angst and problems, breaks them down and shows me simple ways to tackle everything. He has a brilliant knack for doling out wisdom like spare change.

When I was young, our relationship was very different. I don't remember many conversations with Dad just a lot of passive aggressive silence. He was a work-a-holic, and I was an angry teen without the wisdom to see the bigger picture. I thought he worked so much to get away from us, but looking back, I see how hard he worked for us, so that my sister and I had the best opportunities possible. Though now, perhaps to make up for lost time, he's available for us anytime and for anything we need.

Our relationship has grown immensely over the years. As we both mature, it's clearer to see him not as my Father, but as my mate. He lets me make my own choices, my own successes and my own failures, but through it all he accepts me completely for who I am, and is always there to support me.

I respect and love my Dad. Through it all, that will always remain.

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