Father’s Day Tribute to a Wonderful Dad and the Story’s Fourth Side
Editor’s Note: Last weekend, Tony Miller attended the Dads4Kids Men’s Leadership Summit, where he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his lifetime service and sacrifice for the men, families, and children of Australia. See the photo above. He did not know it was coming. It was our secret. He was happily surprised. Tony’s 27-year-old son Cassidy Miller had encouraged him to come. We are so glad he did. Cassidy wrote this letter to Dads4Kids. He gave us permission to publish it for Father’s Day so we could honour his dad on Father’s Day!
There are four sides to every family break-up story — HIS, HERS and THE TRUTH; and somewhere on the journey, they forgot to ask my side. This is what I call the FOURTH SIDE.
I love my Dad.
I was only 4 years old when I buried myself behind my Dad’s favourite sofa, bawling my eyes out — am I in trouble? What did I do wrong? Why are they screaming at each other? I don’t understand.
Mum screams she hates him, Dad yells he’s had enough. Where are you going, Dad? Can I come? The door slammed; it was locked behind him. Where’s my Dad?
“Where’s Daddy?”, “I want Dad.”
Time with Dad
I wanted to see my Dad every day. I told Mum, I told the courts, I told Dad. My side wasn’t received.
I was only allowed to see him every second weekend. It wasn’t enough time, but it was time with my Dad so it lasted longer than usual — at least, that’s how it felt. Every second Friday was the best: that’s the day Dad picked me up from school.
We didn’t hug until we got to Dad’s house, but it was there at Dad’s house that I felt warm, welcomed, and treasured. It wasn’t often I saw Dad, so we usually had Maccas for dinner. He’d take me down and get me a Happy Meal. He’d open the toy for me, steal one of my nuggets and put his hand on my shoulder.
I’ll never forget what it feels like to have my Dad’s hand on my shoulder, keeping me safe, keeping me loved, and keeping me for as much time as we were allowed. I used to ask Mum if I could spend more time with Dad, but no, it wasn’t his weekend.
Who did this, who made rules about when I can see my Dad? He was my Dad! He was my hero!
Alas, Dad said when I’m old enough I can make my own decisions, that I can come over when I want to, not when designated by the court.
Dads in Distress
During that every second weekend I got with my Dad, we went to ‘The Meeting’. I didn’t know what it was back then, a bunch of Dad’s mates telling stories and passing around a rock.
Dad would sit there with these men and share all sorts of anecdotes and lessons about life that he had learned the hard way, and he would listen to theirs too.
I often sat behind them on the floor, playing with toy cars.
For an hour every second weekend, I had to give up my time with Dad to other people. They were always nice to me, but they always looked distressed. The same kind of distressed look that Dad would wear on his face at the end of our weekends.
At the time I hated those meetings. I wanted time with my Dad, but I understand now, Dad wanted time with me too, that’s why he held these meetings. To listen, to learn, to help these distressed dads. The Dads in Distress.
By the time I could make my own decisions, I had realised who my Dad was. We couldn’t walk down the street without someone coming up and saying, “Tony Miller! You saved my life, mate!”
I’m 27 years old now and I remember those 22 years ago when Dad fought for me, I remember that the battle for me went on for years. I remember how it felt on that Sunday night when my time with Dad was up.
Also, I remember how it felt, just last week being at the end of a phone call with Dad where we had said everything we had to say, but stayed on the line nonetheless just to be together.
My Dad, he’s still my hero. He’s my best mate. Without him fighting for me, I would be a son in distress.
There are four sides to every story — HIS, HERS and THE TRUTH; and somewhere on the journey, they forgot to ask my side.
Dads4Kids is a harm prevention charity committed to excellence in fathering. Our vision is to transform the nation by inspiring fathers to help their children be the best they can be.There’s a crisis in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 870,000 children, more than 1 in 6, live without their biological father at home.
The Fatherhood Foundation Incorporated trading as Dads4Kids is a Harm Prevention Charity listed under Subdivision 30_EA of the Australian Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 with Tax Deductible Status (DGR) for donations
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