No thanks at all to me, when my nephew graduates today, he will be in possession of a Bachelor of Science degree from the Australian Defence Force Academy. Along with all the other year Three Trainee Officers, he still has four years of demanding training ahead of him to qualify as an RAAF pilot.

I have just seen a photo of him in uniform (don’t ask me which one!) in which, seemingly for the first time, I see he bears a striking resemblance to his father. The caption reads “Wearing Grandpa’s watch”. My father’s watch. That my nephew is honouring my father and having him ‘present’ on this special day brings a tear to my eye – but not for long.

I run through an uncatalogued hotch-potch of my own possessions in the hope of alighting on an item that, by chance, my father gave me. I remember his finely tailored waistcoats from the days when he used to wear a suit. I wore them often before I emigrated. I left them behind.

Then I remember that my fingernails are the same shape as his; a small thing. Much, much more importantly, I realise that every day I wear the principles and values that my father lived by. How alike we are, after all! Those principles, by the way – and the countless conversations we had which bound them together – form an imaginary, well-thumbed book, with notes in the margins.

©2016 Allison Wright

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