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I would never say that a dad that deserts his kids had good reasons. I believe that if you have kids, you lose the right to “self” - self always comes second. Nobody has more right to be happier than kids. In a way, I wonder if society as a whole helped many fathers along their way to desertion? If not, it’s definitely got something to do with the culture I’ve found myself fighting against for the past two years. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told “they want their mum” or “that’s a woman’s job”, to the point where I just ignore it, or smile and nod.


At this point I return to my dad and his other side, the one I admire even more. As times changed, Dad found work much harder to come by. Rather than become despondent, he would simply go and do something


20 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2010


else, never seeming worried about “losing his identity”. Such was his self-confidence and sense of duty to his wife and kids. A brother with some pretty serious disabilities and health problems meant that sometimes dad had to step in and look after myself and my sister whilst mum took brother to hospital for yet another major operation.


Apart from having to endure dads only cooked meal, burnt sausages, beans and chips (real chips done in a pan, mind you!), he did an incredible job, fulfilling what was, at the time, a very unconventional male role. My parents must have gone through several kinds of hell, struggling to make ends meet, caring for my brother and also trying to raise two fairly lively and demanding other children as well! Something I only


really appreciate now, with my relatively easy life and two perfectly healthy and gorgeous kids of my own.


Yet, despite all the challenges, back then we had a perfect childhood; one I hope I can give my kids and I have nothing but happy and hilarious memories of growing up. None of this left me with “baggage” or “scars”, I appreciated the time I did get with dad and I was well aware that he had no choice because he was honest about it all. If anything, I felt really sorry for dad as he often had to do rotten jobs he hated and must have missed his family terribly. Indeed, when I was considering taking redundancy and setting up Way Ahead Photography to spend loads more time at home, dad was my biggest supporter. “Go for it – I am


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