Tully Smyth: 'Dad, you've been dealt a hard card and there's a few things I want to say to you.'

This year, I’ve decided to do something a little different.

This year, I’ve decided to let the whole world know exactly what you mean to me because God dammit you deserve all the love and praise in the world, not just from the boys, mum and I.

Philip Tully Smyth, you are by far and away my most favourite human being.

There’s no denying I’m a Daddy’s girl. First born and the only daughter meant that you and I have always had a very special bond and relationship, one that I have cherished for as long as I can remember and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

As I write this, several memories spring to mind…

The time in Fiji when you decided to shave off your beard for the first time in our lives and Scott and I ran screaming and crying in the opposite direction down the beach.

The time I decided it was a good idea to take my feet off my bike peddles and you ran faster than the speed of light after me down the steepest hill in our street.

Classic Dad Phrases. Post continues after video. 

Video by MMC

The times I’d get sick… with whooping cough or ear aches or “growing pains” and you’d sit by my bedside, telling me “If I could swap places and take all your pain away, I would.”

The times I’d make you walk through the garden with a stick, checking for snakes. Or check the gas metre for surprise gas explosions. Or scare away whatever else my worried little brain was consumed with that week.

The time you bought home our first CD player and my first ever CD, the Grease soundtrack. And all the times you would fast-forward the sex scene in the car. (It took me forever to figure out what a “rubber” was.)

The time I came to you with a conundrum about which boy at primary school I should like – the one who was nice to me or the one who was rich – and you told me to always choose love over money.

The time you stayed up all hours of the night helping me craft a life-size rocket ship complete with flashing lights… or the board game featuring the map of Australia… or any of the other 101 school projects you “helped” me with.’


The time you picked me up from my friends house after I’d been caught lying (and drinking) about where I was the night before. You didn’t scream or yell, you didn’t say a thing. And that was punishment enough.

The times you’d stand behind me whilst I was on MSN, pointing at different names and asking me how I knew each and every single person on my contact list, just in case they were a 50-year-old man in Iceland.

Dad clearly more impressed with my Easter hat than I was. Image: Supplied.

The time you left your job as a high-paid, high-flying advertising hot shot to become a full time carer to mum and us kids. The time you put everything on the line, spent every cent we had so that our lives could continue on as normal as possible.

The times you gave my boyfriends a hard time and the times you didn’t say a word about my girlfriends. The time you held me while I sobbed over my first heartbreak and promised me it would get easier.

The countless times you spoon fed mum, bathed her, dressed her with the patience and care of a man who would do anything for the woman he loved.

The times you shielded us and protected us from the severity of her disease, allowing us to continue being teenagers and kids. The times you would tell us everything was fine, to go out and see our friends, whilst you faced losing your wife and best friend alone.

The time you collapsed in my arms and wept after we finally agreed to let mum go into a care home.

The time I got my tongue pierced – despite you saying I couldn’t – and you only found out about it months later, when I ended up in ER with a migraine. You didn’t even yell at me.

The time you came up to Bathurst to see me, your first born, graduate from university. The look of pride and tears in your eyes as I told you “I did it!”


The time you gave the most beautiful and moving speech at my 21st and ensured there was not a dry eye in the house.

"Thank you for being such a wonderful, loving husband to mum and for giving the boys and I such a beautiful example of what marriage can be like if you’re lucky enough to find that someone special." Image: Supplied.

The time I went on my first big overseas adventure and you’d stand in my bedroom doorway every day, just looking into my empty room. The time I told you I’d made a last minute decision to swing past Mexico and you didn’t give me a lecture.

The time I first moved out of home, but would call you 24/7 with the stupidest of questions. “How long does it take for an egg to boil?” “Can I wash leather in the washing machine?” “Is chicken okay to eat if it’s been in the fridge for three days?” and you would act as if it wasn’t a silly question at all.

The times we go to visit mum, no longer able to talk or recognise us. Where you’d sit down beside her, stroking her hair and giving her soft kisses. You tell her she was still the most beautiful woman in the world to you and you loved her more every day.

The time I was rushed to emergency with appendicitis and you came to be by my side without me even asking. The times you stayed over afterwards, looking after me when I had raging fevers and cooking me scrambled eggs.

The time I decided to put myself in a house with a bunch of strangers to be filmed on national TV… made a few mistakes… got my boobs out… and you told me you couldn’t be prouder. That I had been myself and what more could you ever expect of me?

The time I decided to move to Melbourne, away from all my family and friends to follow my heart and you didn’t tell me I was being an idiot.

The times I called you balling my eyes out, feeling so lost. Not knowing what to do or who I was anymore. Nursing a broken heart once again and feeling like I was failing at life, letting you down. And you’d just listen and tell me to you loved me. That you believed in me.


The time I called you and told you I was happy. That I had a new job, that I was writing and working out and loving my life and you said “Bravo pumpkin! Thats great to hear!”… but still tried convincing me to move home.

Are You Your Father's Daughter? Robin and Bec speak about their relationships with their dads. Post continues after podcast. 

Daddy, I know it’s been tough. I know we’ve been dealt a hard card, a card that none of us would wish upon our worst enemies.

I know you’ve worked your ass off your entire life so that the boys and I could have everything and more – that you should be relaxing in retirement by now with a beautiful bottle of red instead of working ridiculous hours just to make ends meet.

I know you and mum should be living in your own little apartment somewhere half way between Scott and Tom’s places, spending your nights together reading in bed, instead of sharing biscuits at her care home.

I know all this.

But do you know what else I know? That you have done your very best. You have done an incredible job bringing the three of us up, shaping us into intelligent, driven, empathetic human beings who are all successful and happy in their own right.

I also know that we couldn’t love you or appreciate you any more than we already do.

You are strong and you are brilliant and witty and loving and loyal and hilarious and charming and handsome and brave and I wouldn’t have you any other way.

Thank you for being you. Thank you for everything that you’ve done, everything that you do for us.

Thank you for being such a wonderful, loving husband to mum and for giving the boys and I such a beautiful example of what marriage can be like if you’re lucky enough to find that someone special.

Thank you for giving the boys such an amazing male role model and for showing me the kind of qualities I should be looking for in a partner.

You are incredible. How you’ve managed it over the last 15 or so years I’ll never know but bravo Daddy, I love you to the moon and back.


This article was originally published on Tully Smyth's blog, Young Blood Runs Wild, and has been republished here with full permission. 

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