Why The Snowman film has made me afraid of being a dad

The Snowman film still has me in tears
The Snowman film still has me in tears

It’s surprising how events in your past have Sample a profound effect on you years, even decades, on.

For example, I find myself welling up whenever I hear The Snowman – I’m Walking in the Air. Let me explain.

I absolutely loved that film, right until the bit where the boy goes outside and sees the snowman has melted.

I burst into tears; the boy’s magical best friend had died.  It doesn’t matter that the boy reaches into his pocket and finds the snowman scarf given to him by Father Christmas.

I cried when I had to watch it in Year 1 at school and even this Christmas Day I had to hide my face as it came on during a Christmas song megamix in front of family.

I’m sure that’s why I felt myself welling up in Ted when he is almost ripped in half and presumed dead.

It’s ridiculous and irrational, I know. The only other film that really got me was The Notebook.

What I’m trying to get to in a rather long-winded way is my parents’ relationship and mine with my father have had a huge impact on me.

I was nine when they split up. I remember a badly-tempered Sunday dinner when no-one was really talking suddenly boiled over.

My mum had learnt of my dad’s infidelity the previous night when a woman (now his wife) phoned the landline asking for him.

The rest of that Sunday was tears and my dad moved out within a week. It was impossible to understand what was going on and why.


For weeks, my mum would tell me a different version of events to my dad. I didn’t even really know the real reason conclusively for years: I don’t know if this was an attempt to protect me or not, but it confused me massively.

Although it was probably on the cards for some time (I remember them constantly arguing and my dad being away for long periods, claiming he was working when he was away with his girlfriend) when the hard break came, it was brutal.

My mum was a mess and I only saw my dad at weekends. I was so embarrassed by the fact my family was falling apart I would lie to people who asked me if my parents had split up.

It was a tough time for many years. Visits to see my dad would lessen to every other weekend to once a month.

My mum didn’t drive and was trying to bring up two children by herself. My dad, who was self-employed, was ordered by the Child Support Agency to pay £1 per week per child. He wouldn’t pay more.

I had no real father figure during those formative teenage years.

My dad wasn't around enough when I was young (@ROsss Flickr)
My dad wasn’t around enough when I was young
(@ROsss Flickr)

Yes, I could phone him whenever I wanted and we might spend fun weekends in London, but he wasn’t the constant presence I needed.

He wasn’t there for the important or the mundane things; someone to talk to after school, around the dinner table or watching TV.

He wasn’t there to watch me at my school sports days or my football matches.

He wasn’t there to show me how to shave or to play games, or quite simply, just be around.

I don’t want to be that father to my children and I’m certain it’s made me afraid of commitment.

Today, my relationship with my father is more one I maintain out of duty than anything else.

I don’t feel he knows who I am and what makes me tick. He lives his life and I live mine.

It makes me envious to see other people with such strong relationships with their parents and being a tight family group.

Knowing the damage it done, I would do everything I could to be there for my child or children, but I  somehow feel predisposed to drift out of their lives.

I guess the proof is in the pudding…

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