I am a father without a father. My name is David Quinlan and I was born in Dublin, Ireland. I am the fourth of five children. I have three older and one younger sister. I now live in Vancouver, Canada with my wife, Melissa and our two beautiful children, Cait (4) and Asher (2). My dad, Henry J. Quinlan died when I was 26yrs old. At the time, I was travelling through Australia with Melissa. All of my memories of my dad are silent. This is harder to admit than I thought it would be. There are no major life lessons that he taught which jump out at me. To this day, I cannot hear his voice inside my head. Any advice on parenting was only what I may have picked up in passing. Our relationship could best be described as basic. He worked a night shift his entire life as a printer for an Irish national newspaper, so we didn’t really spend a lot of quality time together. He was a good provider for our family. I barely knew him and that leaves me with much regret.
However, I do love him and for years I have wondered why. I now know why. I love him because he was my dad. Circumstance was what it was. Choices were made for the better and times were hard. Now I am a father to two amazing children who are the absolute joy in my life. Since my dad’s death I have lived in Vancouver as an Irish immigrant. What, who and where do I draw my knowledge as a father from? My dad is gone and I now have questions he cannot help me with. Ironically, what has happened is that as I search for answers, I am finding my father within me. The part of him that was kind, caring and gentle. These are the best qualities I could have inherited from him.
I was drawn to acting because of my dad’s love of movies. By day I manage my time between caring for my children and family, auditioning and bartending at night. It is certainly a juggling act. My children are growing fast and I worry about their future constantly. Am I much different from other fathers. I try very hard to do the best I can, and isn’t that all you can do?
So far my children are loved and cared for by a large, warm and supportive family. We have done many things to ensure their success in these early years. My wife and I taught them sign language from infancy to speed up their communication. They participate in sports and generally have plenty of fun. We goof around, have dance parties, tea parties, play dress-up, bounce on our trampoline, tell stories, sing songs, laugh and cry. My daughter loves dinosaurs and tells everyone she wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up. My son, at two, is hilarious and a dare devil. If it’s high enough he’ll jump off it. They are very loving and caring kids. So far, so good, right?
In September my daughter Cait will be starting kindergarten. I have most of my day times free and my wife only works part-time. This summer will be an extra special time for us all before Cait starts on her own journey without our ever-watching eyes upon her. It is a milestone, but so bitter sweet. We are going to spend as much time as we can together for the next few months. Our backyard will be the hub of our activities with a clubhouse, sandpit, trampoline, and kiddy pool to play in. I would love to be able to document this time so as to show our children in the future that their dad was young, determined and passionate about being a father. I endeavor to fill their memories with joy to the best of my ability. As my father loved me in his own way, their daddy loves them.