Dads and their daughters just have a special way of being. It’s as if they share incredibly exciting secrets, excluding all the world from their little bubble when they whisper mischievously and then burst out laughing about adventurous things only they understand.
It starts when you’re very little but trust me, that relationship carries on well into adulthood. But it’s not just the silly moments that count. My dad is the steadiest thing in my life, and it creates incredible security to know that there’s no situation he wouldn’t rescue me from if I need him.
Being a girl-dad must be tough, for one reason only: Little girl hair.
On numerous occasions, I remember him having to do my hair when my mom wasn’t home. A rugged farmer who plowed fields, fixed tractors and tended large herds of cattle without so much as blinking an eye, was often driven to exasperation by the quivering bottom lip of a five-year-old whose ponytail just wasn’t right.
When I grew older, my dad introduced me to one of the many sports he loves. Water skiing soon became a passion for me too, but not before he spent hours every weekend in the icy water of the Serfonteim Dam, helping me up every time I fell before I finally learned to stand up on the skis.
He camped with my sister and me in the garden. He taught me to drive a bike and shoot a target, things any self-respecting farm girl should be able to do.
He ran the Two Oceans Half Marathon with me, staying with me at my (sluggish) pace all throughout the race because it was my dream to finish it.
He taught me other things too. Always be honest. Greet people, ask them how they are. Listen to the answer. If you say you’ll give someone a call, do it. You always have enough to share with someone else. Say yes to adventure, and seize opportunities. Rugby is important.