Dads are super special beings. As children, we look up to our dads so much. They give us advice, guidance, support, loving us unconditionally even in those moments when we can be hard to love! They are our teachers, of football or cooking or music appreciation and how to tie our shoelaces. They pick us up when we fall down and help us to build resilience. As adults, we see our dads in a new light and, if we become parents, our perspective changes again. One thing’s for sure – the bond between a father and child is something very significant indeed.

I am blessed with a wise and kind dad. He is never short a dad joke or an article cut from Choice or the paper relating to any life decision, large or small. You may casually mention you’re thinking about buying a new toaster. Dad’s got the Choice article on the topic the next time you see him. Super funds? Hard drives? Prams? Lucky I hung onto my filing cabinet! Dad is measured and balanced, and has helped me nut out the answers to many tough questions using pros and cons lists and listening with a non-judgmental ear.

To witness the beautiful bond between Dad and my young son Max has been such a wondrous thing. It helps me to imagine how Dad may have been with me as a young child. The love they have for each other is already so strong. Parenthood can be so challenging at times, but also provide such magical moments. I feel closer to my parents now, as I experience this crazy ride they know all too well.

Max’s dad, my husband, is another fatherly gem. He has grown into his role as Dad over the past 19 months, navigating the newborn stage, then keeping calm through the more recent toddler tantrums! Not only do they share the most gorgeous auburn hair, they are both daredevils, cheeky and great at cuddles. Only the most patient of dads could read ‘Goodnight, Sleep Tight’ or ‘Oh no, George!’ as many times in a row as my husband, though he has been known to skip a few pages of ‘We’re all Going on a Bear Hunt.’

Amidst the loveliness of father-son and grandfather-grandson bonding that has occurred since Max’s arrival, there has been some significant sadness for our family. My gentle larrikin of a father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer just before Max’s birth and passed away in March of this year when Max was just 13 months old. There is sadness, that Max will grow up not knowing his Pop. Sadness that my husband can’t take this fatherhood journey with his own dad alongside for guidance.

For many of us, days like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day can be bittersweet. Of course, the day will be a wonderful celebration of the dads in our family. However, we will also spend time reflecting on the absence of my father-in-law and the lasting impact of such a loss. Be sure to hug all the special ones around you this Father’s Day and tell them just how much they mean to you. It’s not a day about gifts, but a day about time and memories – making them and keeping them alive.