Dads, really?

It’s as if holidays just accompany disasters or some sort of catastrophe.

I remember some of the most unhappy times with my family have been during birthdays, Easter, mother’s day and of course father’s day.

Yesterday was no different.

For the day my parents decided we would go and visit my grandparents because we haven’t been up to see them in awhile. They live on the Central Coast (I live in Sydney). All well and good, and I love my grandparents, however, there is plenty of room in a trip up the coast in 200km/h winds, for something to go wrong.

The drive up consists of a long trip on the F3 freeway. My dad of course makes some sort of statement about Sunday drivers, or in this case, people taking their cars out for a drive on father’s day for a special occasion.My brother sits with that grumpy look on his face because he is being forced to see family members for more than 5 minutes a day and my mum is nursing a salad and some cakes, because that’s what my mum does.I sit in the back, taking in the drive that I have been on all of my life.

By the time we make it to my grandparents house, we’ve all heard the story from Dad about how he played hockey for N.S.W and how he was going to play for Australia and my mum has told my brother to “Stop being so cranky!” about 15 times. I opened the car door and the wind hit.

My grandparents live in a very old house which is up on stilts and has even older balconies. It was only 3 months ago that my grandfather was standing on the back balcony when it collapsed and he fell 4 metres to the ground. The front balcony has always been a hazard. The railing is barely nailed to the floor and when you lean on it it bends almost parallel to the ground. On this particular day, with 200km/h winds, my grandfather thought it was a good idea to wave to us as we drove in from this very balcony. It was not a good idea.

It was as if it happened in slow motion. Stepping out of the car and looking up into the glare of the sunshine to wave to my grandfather from the ground. Him seeming to come closer and closer to me without really trying. As the railing gave way, I saw the look on his face as he tried to balance himself before he fell 4 metres to the ground for a second time in 3 months.The wind continued to howl, and my grandfather continued to rock backwards and forwards. On this day though, he was lucky.

He had realised, from previously falling these same 4 metres to the ground, that he needed to put his hands behind his back and try to grab onto the door handle. As he did this, the railing of the balcony fell to the ground right in front of our car. I looked back up from where it had fallen, narrowly missing the front bumper, to see my grandfather standing tall, still waving.

It was off to a good start this year. Oh father’s day, why do you continue to be celebrated?

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