Hey, here's a story: "I am not a sea swimmer"... I'm almost constantly enveloped in a cosy jacket with a hot cup of tea attached permanently to my hand- a creature of comforts.
I can think of nothing worse than stripping for the Atlantic/Irish Sea to envelope me and threaten a cardiac arrest.
But, while in Greystones recently for a walk -sea adjacent (that’s as close as I’m getting people) - I saw a dad out with two young kids who were playing chase with the sea and gleefully letting the waves catch them every now and then. Watching this happy moment in a tough year made me nostalgic for the years when my father would join us for a swim.
The BIG difference was that we were in a warm swimming pool in Switzerland where we lived as children (“Notions!” I hear you, but Dad’s work brought us all there).
During the summer months we would spend every day at the outdoor pools and in the evenings we would always be on the lookout for Dad who would come by after work and join us in the pool. He would always do a few minutes of hardcore laps (which I now recognise were to de-stress) and we would leave him alone to do this. But afterwards, he was all ours! We’d practice diving (mostly belly flops), show off our water handstands and protest at being picked up and thrown back into the water despite first begging for him to do this.
He’d let us hold onto his shoulders while he swam back and forth, like we were on a dolphin.
I know now that mum was often left with the slightly more difficult task of then calming us down to get to sleep on those evenings.
"I have nothing but great memories of play time with my dad"
It always gives me such pleasure to see other dads who are just SO gifted at ‘play’.
It mightn’t seem important.
It might leave the mum with the work of calming us down.
However, it might also be an unsung talent of many fathers.
So if you’re one of those dads, just know, it means the world to your children and no matter what happens in the messy teenage years and beyond, your kids will always treasure those moments of joy.
If you’re a mum who sees this quality in the father of your children, or if you’re the grown up son/daughter of such a father, here’s a super quick dessert to make for him, to show how much you care. Inspired by the swiss alps- but of course.
Vanilla Ice cream with melted Toblerone poured alll over it. That’s it.
Oh, but when you melt the toblerone in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, just remember to add a little milk while whisking it; makes it sort of fudgy and prevents it from just going hard when you pour it on the cold ice cream.
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