BE­ING A FA­THER Four well-known male au­thors step into the spot­light

To cel­e­brate Fa­ther’s Day, we’ve given men the spot­light for once. Four writ­ers share how fa­ther­hood has changed and shaped them

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - News - IL­LUS­TRA­TIONS CLARE MACKIE

‘There I was, slightly Ne­an­derthal, liv­ing in an all-fe­male house’

Co­me­dian and chil­dren’s au­thor Adrian Ed­mond­son be­lieves that bring­ing up three daugh­ters with his wife, Jen­nifer Saun­ders, has made him a nicer, gen­tler per­son.

Iwent to an all-boys board­ing school. I have two broth­ers and an older sis­ter. I didn’t re­ally meet any girls, other than the one I was re­lated to. In my 20s, I stum­bled through a few re­la­tion­ships, all of which crum­bled, pos­si­bly be­cause I didn’t re­ally know how to talk to women. Then, at the age of 28, I fi­nally per­suaded my wife to marry me. I was def­i­nitely ‘punch­ing above my weight’, as they say. When I dropped to one knee and pro­posed to her, I si­mul­ta­ne­ously asked if we could have chil­dren. It was the same sen­tence. There wasn’t even a comma.

I don’t know where the urge to have kids came from, but I’d never felt it in pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ships. Maybe, like the black-necked swan or the

After 30-odd years of watch­ing my three girls grow into women, I like to think that I am a gen­tler, more tol­er­ant, and more amenable hu­man be­ing

mac­a­roni pen­guin, we even­tu­ally find a mate with whom it just feels to be the sin­gle thing you most want to do.

Five years later, we had three daugh­ters: Ella, Beat­tie and Freya. We also had two ter­ri­ers, both fe­male. And a rabbit – male, but cas­trated. Sud­denly I was the only male in a fairly crowded house, and then even I shuf­fled off to Marie Stopes and got the snip.

I’ve seen houses with boys: grim waste­lands with a tide­mark on the walls (de­ter­mined by the height of the tallest boy), below which any­thing is fair game for de­struc­tion. Boys shout and barge into things, and each other, for fun. Boys break things just to see how things break. Boys are ca­su­ally vi­o­lent – how long will it take this fly to die? Will this car bounce off my brother’s head? I’ve wit­nessed all this in other peo­ple’s houses and I lived through it. I was that boy.

So there I was, slightly Ne­an­derthal by my own ad­mis­sion, liv­ing in an all-fe­male house. There were or­na­ments. There was danc­ing (I had to learn the Macarena). There were pub­lic dec­la­ra­tions of love. There were cre­ative games with lit­tle Play­mo­bil peo­ple that went on for days and days – and no­body died!

It wasn’t all sweet­ness and light, ob­vi­ously. I also learnt that grudges can be kept for weeks; that ‘evil eyes’ can be de­liv­ered over break­fast. But it was a cul­ture that wel­comed in­clu­sion, cre­ativ­ity and com­pas­sion.

When I started be­ing a dad, I was a rather acer­bic, oc­ca­sion­ally in­sen­si­tive – al­beit mod­er­ately hu­mor­ous – bloke, who was prone to fits of point­less rage. After 30-odd years of watch­ing my three girls grow into women, I like to think that I am now a gen­tler, more tol­er­ant, and more amenable hu­man be­ing.

Some of this might be down to age, some of it is def­i­nitely down to my wife, but a good chunk of it is down to my girls. I hope I have helped them be­come the lovely peo­ple they are, but I know they have helped to make me the per­son I am. And I thank them for it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.