Listen to Jenny talk about her father’s protective love to Scottie Haas on Hobart’s ultra106five
Rarely do we, as children, consider the protective, all-encompassing love our parents have for us. But one day I saw it happen as my cousin’s sudden death began some unusual activity at our house
Do you sometimes feel you love your children so much your heart could burst? That nothing will come between you and your kids’ harm?
That Big Mamma (or Papa) Bear instinct is alive and active in all parents.
Donuts and Wheelies? No, A Father’s Protective Love
Back when I was a young’un, I had my own special car seat complete with a little steering wheel for me to “drive the car”. Back then it was unusual to have a child’s carseat. I understand now that my little perch between mum and dad in the front seat was really tapping-in to my father’s protective instinct. I remember clearly, watching Dad drive, and trying to copy him as he steered the car.
It’s just as well he didn’t copy me, or we would’ve been doing donuts and wheelies!
But One Day, Disaster did Overtake
When I was in the middle years of primary school, my 14-year-old cousin was killed in a car crash. Her death was caused by a combination of factors: speed, poor control, lack of safety fencing. And no rear seat-belts. While it was happening, she tried to get out of the car. As it rolled she got stuck in the door, the car tumbling over and over her slight body. She hung on in hospital, paralysed for weeks, and it was a grim relief when she finally let go of life.
This event shocked my family to the core, especially my Dad. It all happened before there was Australian legislation about compulsory rear car seat-belts, although newer cars did have seat-belt mounting points by then.
So, ahead of his time, Dad installed rear seat-belts in our car. One Saturday, he carefully removed the seat from the back of the car so as to bolt in the brand-new, previously unheard of, lap seat-belts.
It’s only as I write this post, that I realise it was quite a challenge for him, because he wasn’t the world’s best handyman. I remember it was a huge weekend, because the car was out of action while he worked out how to do it. To my mind, that makes his handiwork all the more heroic! That’s evidence to me of a father’s protective love.
Dad’s Over-Commitment to Car Safety
As an adult, I can now see there were a couple of reasons for my father’s super-vigilance . . .
When he was a teenager, he was in a motor bike crash and injured his arm. Every so often we would drive right past where it happened, and he made sure we knew. He didn’t ever like motor bikes after that event.
Then, as a newlywed during WWII, he left for the the Middle East with the RAAF. He worked with the medical corps in Northern Africa. He was involved in many horrific experiences. On one occasion, the ambulance driving in front of the vehicle he was in was blown to smithereens by a land mine. Jumping to the aid of survivors, he held the hand of his mate as he passed from life to death. Sadly, he returned to his young wife, a broken man.
As a result of his wartime experiences, Dad had a thing about speed, machines and death. And he over-compensated in a lovely kind of way. He never wanted us to face Death. Ever. It was the ultimate in a father’s protective love. This idea became a bit unstuck when our mother died when I was 16, but it doesn’t stop his good intent.
He never wanted us to face Death. Ever.
He showed his care and love for me – and also my three sisters – in many ways. Car safety was one of them. He was sometimes explosive in nature because of wartime damage to his soul. But there was no doubt in my mind that he loved us deeply. He treasured us so much. And it means I treasure him in return – even though he was never a very easy man to live with.
So while this post is clearly about my dad who treasured me, the idea holds true for mothers as well.
My dad’s duty-bound protective love shows that even if you feel broken, uninspired, weary or are just plain sick, it’s still possible to show your children how much you treasure them by the things you do. These things do not go unnoticed!
Do you sometimes feel you love your children so much your heart could burst? That nothing will come between you and your kids’ harm? That Big Mamma (or Papa) Bear instinct is alive and active in all parents.
What do you do to treasure your kids? Do you remember your father or mother doing special things to keep you safe?