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  • Writer's pictureMike Douglas

Dad is Moving to Spain

It has been an emotional week for me as my Dad finally makes his move to Spain. I am delighted that Dad and Lesley are off to start this next adventure together. But I am sad too.

**Written in September, delayed posting**

Having lived in Australia for a year I know how awesome it can be to live aboard. So I am happy that Dad and Lesley have this opportunity to experience something they have both spoken about and dreamed of for at least a few years.

While I am immensely happy for them, I am sad too.

Since my parents divorce, and as I have grown up, my relationships with each parent have become divergent, their 'roles' or rather the way we interact with each other is quite different.

Growing up not living with Dad meant time with him was usually fixed. We saw Dad for dinner, or to go somewhere or because it was our allotted time with him. In truth I don't remember much from this time, it's more odd moments randomly put together in my head. I have no idea which one happened before the other, or if they were related.

I know that time was difficult for us as kids, it was confusing, scary and I am sure a lot of other things too. But one thing always stuck with me. That was, my Dad wants me/ us.

Even as a child I knew, somehow, about parents/ families breaking up and that sometimes you then didn't have a mum or dad. So even in my moments of thinking I just want to play with my friends after school, I understood I was lucky to have a Dad that wanted to spend time with me.

As an adult, I grew away from my family slightly. It became more important to be as self-sufficient as possible, to not rely on anyone. A value that was restated in my mind when I had my own divorce.

I think it was at this time that my relationships with each parent were highlighted to me, with each parent being on different ends of a support spectrum.

My mum was/ has always been very loving and supportive. I know she would always take my side. The emotional support she offers is extremely valuable to me. My Dad offers something different.

When talking about my divorce my Dad asked "Could you have done anything differently?" That is a flipping hard question to be asked when you are already feeling broken. But it was an honest question, a practical question and one that sought to help find some form of solution, or rather resolution, for my mind. Even though it was a question I didn't want to consider, it was a question I greatly appreciated being asked.

Dad has offered constant support as I have wondered through adult life. While sometimes that support has been unwanted (particularly when he's come in with his house key at 7am, while I am still in bed), it's definitely always been under-appreciated. So, a huge thank you to my loving dad.

In this moment of reflection I am left thinking about the moments.

Moments can stick with you and some that have stayed in my head very much focus around Dad being my hero. The moments like: completing a skydive, always looking out for my sister, taking us both as kids (who annoyed each other a lot) on holiday to America (twice!) and now following a dream and moving to Spain.

While I didn't know it at the time, I think one of the biggest things for me to have seen was Dad remarrying, after saying he would never marry again. His willingness to put himself out there and try for love again is something I have reflected on a lot recently. This is something I am so proud of him for.

We have had moments in the past when we have misunderstood each other and I am sure annoyed each other. We have probably both said or done things that impacted on the other person more than we knew. But, in my depression he was there, the conversations we had changed how I saw my Dad, and the appreciation I had for his understanding. The fact that after my manic depressive episode a few New Years back, Dad now texts me every day to check I am ok, is an example of how our relationship changed. We don't necessarily say a lot more to each other, but there is a constant reminder that we are there and have an understanding that life isn't always amazing. Well, thats how I interpret our "morning" exchanges.

He has had a harder life than I knew and is so deserving of this amazing opportunity. He is a brave man and is someone I am honoured to call my Dad.

I also want to mention Lesley, who has somehow managed to somewhat tame Papi. Some days he even gets up after 6am now, hahaha. I am so delighted that Dad has someone who loves him and, to some extent, keeps him in his place. She is a wonderful lady who deserves her happiness just as much as Dad. I hope they have a lovely time and are able to settle in Spain, enjoy their lives and make the most of the free time they are going to have. Well... until they get the dogs, chickens, goats, and whatever other animals they end up adopting.

I am super happy for them both, but I am sad too. This week I have spoken to Laura a couple of times about their move and realised how much I value their support, how much I consider what they would think (even if I don't ask them), and how much not having them around the corner will affect me.


I wish you both every happiness and look forward to visiting you soon. Need to start looking at the planner, and see how that Brexit thing turns out...

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