four-fathersI did find it extremely hard to recall the incident in the playground when she turned around and panicked when she couldn’t see me. In fact that hurt so much to write I knew it had to go in. For some reason that remains an extremely painful memory, and I’m convinced it will still have the same power twenty years from now, if I’m still around. I didn’t want to pull any punches about just how awful it felt. I thought of her reading it when she’s older, and wanted her to know how much I love her, and to understand just how complicated, emotionally draining and wonderfully fulfilling the relationship between a father and a daughter can be. I had read a number of accounts of fatherhood which went for laughs, dwelling on the unpleasant nature of nappy changing, having to clean up your child’s wee or vomit while you were struggling with a hangover after a night out with the lads, etc etc. What I hadn’t seen so much of were descriptions of how it actually made you feel. Of how it made you reflect again on your relationship with your own father. Perhaps there was a perception that that was women’s territory, that men should steer clear of it. If so, that’s a shame, because the more honest and open we’re capable of being with our children, the more likelihood there’ll be that they will go on to have good relationships when they grow up. And, of course, this brought me right back to my relationship with my father, and made me reflect on how it has contributed to who I am today, and help explain what a difficult so and so I can be sometimes.

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