Yesterday was the day that my dad was surprised and reminded that he is officially sixty years of age and the day that my brother was surprised and rejoiced that he is finally twenty years of age; nevertheless still forty years the junior to the senior with only a two-day addendum in his honour.
Pops came in on the 9th of March and Kid Brother rocked up exactly 40 years later and nearly stole all kinds of thunder but missed his mark by two days.
There was however, not any thunder stolen. Nothing could be more the opposite. Kid Brother is the Ying to the Yang that Pops brings to the table. The Betty to his Veronica. The Black to his White. The Keith to his Mick.
And often, as it so is with humans and more specifically fathers and their children, the Yes to his No.
Our dad is our hero. He is, by default, a hero, because he is Dad.
We go that extra mile, we take that extra step, we fight that extra fight, and we blast through any ever-loving obstacle that lies in our paths in order to get his approval, his recognition, his understanding, his pride.
But he is also, not by default, our idol and very essence.
Trusting that this is something that many a child fights tooth and nail until full realisation hits, I am confident in saying that I was one of the privileged to have experienced having a father as my biggest foe.
There is something about fighting against the very man that helped give you life that is so bold and dangerous and beautiful and destructive and blissfully powerful because it is simply the act of defiance and independence achieved through sheer, brute willpower that makes you realise that you did it all to see the fire in his eyes, the pain in his face, to hear the disappointment in his
words, and to dare him to disown you, to declaim you, to turn from you, to stop loving you.
It is in this, in this period of self-analysis and assertion, of utter stupidity and blatant disregard that we are doing our best to drive him from us, to test him, to prove how ugly we can be, to blame him for what he made us, to make him hate us for what we might become, to make him wonder where he went wrong... and to demonstrate how much we desperately need him.
It is the most beautiful moment in this life to outlive the most vivid baptism of fire that a young person can endure - warring with a father.
The lines of love and hate that were once so blurred give way to life's battlefield for both you and he to pick up arms and face the real adversaries, the ones that never claimed you, never loved you, will never know you, and only live to see you fall.
The only thing you have to know is that he loves you, he fought you, he let you strive and succeed and fall and get up again, only to knock you back into it again but you will stop fighting him for his love.
You have it.
He proved you.
He showed you how to love yourself.
Admittedly, I have never before felt that what I am doing here in this country was meaningless.
I wish I could have been there to extend the hand of friendship to my father.
Friendship for fighting the good fight and proving to be one of my best friends and one of the few souls in this world that knows me for who I am, loves me fiercely for it, and fought me to finally fully and unashamedly embrace it.
I longed to be there and congratulate my brother and welcome him into a decade that will turn him upside down and string him sideways and under.
He will go through fire and turmoil to know himself - at least, I desperately and breathlessly hope that for him.
I impatiently and hungrily anticipate the day that he will offer his own hand of friendship - the most beautiful and purest of all the loves - to a father because he knows what it is to stand as a friend next to a great man he was chosen to know.
Happy birthday and may the heavens curse the distance in between us.