So much of a Dad’s work can go unsung. Father’s Day is one of the precious few chances we get to celebrate him. Wayne shares his special story this Father's Day as part of The Dad Files editorial series.
My kids are my life
“I’ve got a tattoo of my kids’ names on my body. Jaigan, Mikayla and Ainsley are on my right arm and Hayden and Andie’s handprints are on my left leg…13 years apart,” says Wayne McEwen, a barber and owner of Chadz Cutz at Benowa Gardens on the Gold Coast.
Wayne is a hands-on-father who loves being a Dad. He compares fatherhood for the first time at age 20 and now, second time around: “The first time around, being young, I was energetic and getting through the long nights and days, so it didn’t necessarily worry me.
But I was still a child myself, learning to live with the fact I had 3 lives dependent on me. It was a lot of mental anxiety and stress, but I was doing everything possible for them.”
By 23, he was separated with a 50/50 arrangement with his ex-wife. “I had everything to do with them. My kids are my life. I basically lived a relatively single life for quite some time; I wanted the kids to know when they were with me that they were my sole focus,” he says.
He talks about it being a challenge after the split; not having them with him all the time. He worked in Sydney and would drive north to see them.
“I went up every weekend, even if it wasn’t my weekend. I hung around for 5 years so they knew I wasn’t leaving them. I never wanted them to think I was bailing on them.”
That smile you see on the kids’ faces makes it all worthwhile
Wayne didn’t plan on having more kids until he met his now-wife, Kelly, at work and things changed: “You start to realise you don’t have to do it all on your own.”
By then the twins were 13 and Ainsley was 10. Now Wayne and Kelly have son Hayden, who’s 4 and little daughter Andie, 10 months old.
“Now, at 40, I’m tired, but financially stable. It’s a different type of stress. When you’re 25 you bounce back, now you have to take time to recover from the sore back!”
“It’s amazing, watching the people they’ve become. The four older ones have all got really weird quirky senses of humour; they’re cheeky kids in a good way.”
“One of the wonderful things is the way they are so open and honest. ”
Even from a young age they’d come to Wayne for advice: “They know I’ll sort out the problem and then talk about how they could’ve done things later, rather than chastise, or ignore them and don’t get anywhere.”
All five are empathetic and caring, including 4 year-old Hayden. “We found out last week that a new little boy started at the school who was very shy and had a speech impediment. Hayden took him under his wing and introduced him to people. That made us proud.”
“Our little 10 month old, she’s perfect. She’s always slept 10 hours every single night. You put her in her cot, she rolls over, goes to sleep and then wakes up all smiles and all grins. She’s absolutely delightful.”
“I try to make every day Father’s Day”
“Your kids make a big deal of it. Over the years they’ve made me breakfast in bed. And I’ve still got all of the little Father’s Day magnets, pictures and cards from all 3 of my older kids in a folder. Those little things from school like the handprint when your kids are little. I keep it all.”