real life

Why I find it hard to say ‘I love you’ to my dad.

Thanks to our brand partner, Officeworks

I have a few traditions on Father’s Day.

Firstly, I buy my dad a card that has precisely nothing to do with the day. Usually it says something about my “deepest sympathies”, or “congratulations on your First Communion,” or “It’s a girl!”

Then, I write a very bad acrostic poem, usually using the letters D.A.D.

Dad, why do you eat breakfast so loudly at 6am when everyone else is sleeping?

A yell is what you did when people leave the lights on.

Doesn’t have any hair…

It goes without saying that I’m not all that good at saying those awkward words ‘I love you’.

Merry Christmas (in September) dad! Image: Getty.

They feel awkward and forced. Even though I mean them, when they come out they feel insincere. It never feels like the right time and often just seems like an unnatural formality.

It's much easier to just make fun of the weird memes he shares on Facebook, or pretend to get cranky because he's the reason I have big ears.

But the truth is, I love my dad enormously. Beyond words. And I worry all the time about what I'd do if something happened to him, because I haven't told him how much he means to me often enough.

So last year, I added something to my annual tradition.

Generally, I've bought Dad something with very little thought. A Star Trek DVD (which is still unopened in his top drawer...), some clothes, a book titled Why I Love My Cat where you fill in all the details yourself (my dad despises cats).

Mr Turnbull meeting my dad. Image: Supplied.

But then I remembered something.

When I was at school, I'd bring my projects home and within a week or so they'd disappear. Dad was bringing them to work, to put in his office.

There was a badly made clock that definitely told the wrong time, and then a big portrait I did for my art major work. He liked having these pieces with him at work, because it reminded him of his family.

I decided to get one of my favourite photos, taken at my parents' anniversary, with our whole family - mum, dad, my twin brothers, and myself and my twin sister, and have it blown up.

There are only a handful of photos of the six of us in the last 10 years. And I didn't realise at the time it was taken, how much it would come to mean.

It's the first photo of all four of us kids grown up. Adults. Standing alongside our adult parents. The dynamic is entirely different.

I was ridiculously proud of my idea, and told everyone - humble bragging that I was such a good daughter. I had Father's Day completely sorted.

The Holy Grail. Image: Officeworks.

That was until I realised it was 5pm on Saturday afternoon, the day before Father's Day. And I hadn't actually done the thing.


I bolted to Officeworks with a USB in hand, carrying the picture. I plugged it into one of the machines, selected the photo, and pressed print.

The whole process might have taken 10 minutes... That was it. It was like magic.

I noticed when I was there that if I had just been a little more organised then I could have had a photo printed on a mug, or calendar, or even a large canvas - but alas, I had waited until the last minute.

I had it printed in 30 x 45cm for $13, and then invested in a good quality frame.

The look on Dad's face, when he got that picture, alongside his "Happy 5th birthday to our beautiful girl," was absolutely priceless.

The look on my Dad's face when he saw this was priceless. Image: Supplied.

Dad says that a year later, everyone who walks into his office says what a beautiful family he has (despite his big ears of course...).

But what they don't see, is that scrawled in the bottom right hand corner, in small black writing, are the words 'I love you xx Jessie'.

What's the best gift you've ever given your dad? Share your sweet stuff with us below.

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Officeworks.