by Wiebo Grobler
Mom walked past me, kissed me on the cheek and whispered. “It’s your Dad’s birthday.” I was fifteen years old and if asked when my mom and dad’s birthdays were, I would struggle to answer.
I walked over to the where dad stood staring into the distance, waiting for the kettle to boil. “Happy birthday, Dad! Go sit down. I’ll make you a birthday brew.”
Dad looked at me with suspicion, nodded, and went to sit in his chair. I stirred in the milk, the spoon clinking on the sides. I felt different today, more aware.
“I’d like that coffee before my next birthday,” Dad said. I took the coffee over to him. “So, what are you up to today, Dad?” “Not much. Probably clean out the garage, tinker with the cars.”
“I can give you hand if you like?” I said. More suspicion directed my way. “Ok....”
I spent the day with Dad and we actually chatted, for the first time, really bonded instead of him telling me to clean my room, do my chores or listen to my mom.
I believe that was the day I turned from a boy into a man. The day I started taking other people into consideration, instead of my own interests and needs.
Dad is long gone, but every day on his birthday, I would raise a beer in his honour and tell him what I’ve been up to and sometimes even ask for advice.
So when you see someone mumbling into their beer glass or coffee mug, don’t be too quick to judge. They might be having a conversation with their Dad.