I am surrounded by alpha males. A few weeks ago, I spoke of my teachers. The women whose impact on my life had been so phenomenal that I felt compelled to share their imprint in my writing. Now I find myself wanting to redress the balance and share with you the special men I am lucky enough to have in my life.
First, there is my Granddad Pete. A smart man whose gruff exterior hides the softest and biggest heart. He is a walking encyclopedia, forever with a book in his hand and loves sharing his knowledge of the world with anyone who will listen. I let my Granddad Pete see a side of me I very rarely show to others and I adore my visits to him and my Gran. My recent adventures in ancestry have become a joint venture and he has taken on the role of family storyteller, imparting long-forgotten folklore and breathing life back into the family of our past. Our current project is to find out more about his Grandmother, Christina Anderson, who used to read the teacups and I have no doubt we will find her soon, or rather she will find us..
Then there is my Uncle Peter. He’s been there my whole life standing beside me with an invisible sword at the ready willing to slay any dragons for me. The family joker, he is never without a funny tale to tell. When I saw him a few weeks ago he doubled over with laughter, as he often does, as he told yet another story I’d never heard before. How as a toddler I was standing up in the basin in front of the fire only to jump out of the water screaming when he started to hum the theme tune to ‘Jaws’. I’m so lucky to have my Uncle Pete; my protector, my Godfather and my second Dad. I love you millions.
Then there is my brother Neil who always looks out for me. He is smart, fearless and braver than he gives himself credit for. Independent since he left nappies, he started his own business aged 16 and has forged a career as a successful and very talented barber. As I blaze my own trail, I look to my inspiring, younger brother and know I couldn’t find a better example of fortitude and courage. I am very lucky to be his sister.
Then there are my nephews, Alex and George, who at 11 and 2 years old captured my heart from the moment they came into the world.
Alex is 11 going on 35. Articulate with a beautiful mind and soul, I simply love spending time with him. I could speak to him for hours as he shares his love of life with me. Whether it is his determination to educate me in all matters relating to Minecraft. Seriously, Alex, what does potatoes have to do with zombies? Every month we have an outing, usually instigated by my book research. Most recently we’ve been to Camera Obscura, where I learned a valuable lesson. Never sugar up a child and take him back into an amusement. To Falkland Palace and the huge slab of chocolate fudge cake he enjoyed afterwards “It’s a false high”. To The Muppets at the cinema, “I’m not allowed the large drink thanks!” and next weekend, we’re off to Edinburgh Castle for another adventure. And as always my brother will phone and say, "Sis, are you bringing him back?" Yes, Neil, I am. But very reluctantly...
Then there is The George. A two-year whirlwind bundle of fun who loves his trains and cars and already is showing all the determination and joker tendencies of a Young male. George prefers to run everywhere but will accept transportation in the form of a hug if it means Percy and Thomas can come too. Laughter is natural to him, whether he’s pulling your hand to get more “tracks” or singing the songs, only he knows, as he waters aka drowns his Gran’s plants. He is an absolute joy. The George is pure, unadulterated love.
Then there is my Dad.
There are not enough words to describe just how much my Dad means to me and how much I love him. My family are tactile and every day of my life he hugs me and tells me he loves me. But whilst he loves, he teases in equal measure.
My Dad believes it is my mission in life to provide him with tea and biscuits whenever he wants them. A few months ago, I was working at my lucky writing desk when my Dad came in and demanded to know where his custard creams where and why I wasn’t answering my phone. Bearing in mind my Dad had walked past said biscuits to speak to me, I checked my phone to find three text messages, an e-mail and a voicemail all detailing his request for the biscuits. Needless to say, the custard creams are still in the cupboard. In retaliation I started to call him Pablo, after the famous cartel leader, in testament to the case he uses to hold of his medication. He thought it was funny until I started playing the Miami Vice tune and now threatens to set his hippos on me.
Notoriously even tempered my Dad very rarely loses his cool instead he just sighs. Like when we all went to see Jurassic Park and Neil stumbled and emptied his popcorn, large size, all over Dad. While we fell about laughing, he just starting picking off the popcorn from his jumper and sighed.
My dad is the original alpha male and I’ve finally realised that all my life I’ve been looking for someone just like him.
I often am asked the question; “Are you Gary Young's daughter?"
Yes, I am and I am so proud of it.
But to my darling Dad I'll always just be Lisa.
But to my darling Dad I'll always just be Lisa.