For the majority of my life, my dad was FIFO.
Gone for weeks at a time, coming home for what seemed like hours not days, only to leave for weeks again. My dad worked damn hard for us, my mum, my sister and I. It was normal for us, as it was and is even more so now for thousands of families all over the world.
I know my dad worried about how it affected us, just a couple of years ago, he asked me about it and I don’t think I gave him a very good answer. I’ve thought about it a lot since he asked and as an adult, with children of my own now, I can finally see clearly, how the FIFO life affected me. So to my dad and to dads or mums everywhere doing it tough away from their families, I have this to share with you…
I miss you daddy, sometimes it feels like you’re always gone. When you’re here, the hours seem to fly as though only minutes are passing. I don’t want to go to sleep or school while you’re home, I just want to be with you. You’re so tired when you come home, I wish you weren’t so tired, I want to play.
I know you work hard daddy, mummy always tells us why you work so hard, it’s all for us. So we can have a roof over our head, wholesome food to eat, get a quality education and have good lives. We all appreciate it so much, but I won’t figure this out until I’m a bit older, for now, you just have to trust that I will understand.
As an adult, I will have learnt my work ethic from you daddy and I too will work hard and sacrifice for my family. I will also search for this quality in my future husband, a good man with a strong work ethic, who works hard to support his family.
I may cry when you leave daddy, I may beg you, or guilt you, or seem angry, but this passes quickly and these memories do not linger. My adult memories will be of picking you up from the airport in my pyjamas, of days spent following you around the shed learning from you and of amazing family holidays that we would never have had without so much hard work. All the memories that I hold on to will be beautiful ones.
I will learn to respect mummy through this experience too daddy. I will see her at her best and worst as she deals with what is practically single parenting a lot of the time. I will take out on her my frustration at you, because you’re not here to hear it. These too are memories that will pass for me, I hope also for mummy, I don’t mean to upset her so. Through it all, her tough resilience will rub off on me, making me a better mum to my own kids and a stronger woman.
Keep spending time with me daddy, when you’re home, all I need is your presence. Bedtime stories, backyard games and weekend expeditions are the best parts of my childhood. I know it is tough for you to find balance, this is another thing I won’t learn until I’m older, but I will see eventually how hard you and mummy worked to put us first and still have time for each other.
Please don’t fret daddy, you are doing and will always do your best for us and we can never ask for better than that. When I complain, tell you I hate you or make you sad, please remember that one day, I will understand it all, appreciate it all and it will all be worth it.