Media personality Gary McCormick’s three young daughters know how to make an entrance.
Waking up from their afternoon nap, the energetic toddlers jump out of their beds, race down the corridor and barge through the kitchen door. As soon as they spot Gary sitting at the table, they excitedly scream in unison, “Daddy! Daddy!”, racing each other to be the first to give him a great big cuddle.
It’s this boundless energy from two-and-a-half-year-old identical twins Bridie and Florence and 20-month-old Evelyn that keeps Gary (62) on his toes.
At an age when most men are planning their retirement, the More FM breakfast host has many years of daddy duties to look forward to.
“The good thing about having girls is that they’re kind to their ageing father,“ explains the veteran broadcaster.
Gary and his wife, Katherine Cottier (40), invited the Weekly into their gorgeous villa outside Christchurch, overlooking Lyttelton Harbour. It’s quiet and tranquil – until the girls wake, injecting a burst of vitality into the home.
“I enjoy sitting on the lawn, watching them play, running around in circles. This is my life now and I love it,” Gary says with a smile.
The radio host has two other daughters, Celeste (24) and Mary (22), from his first marriage, who adore being big sisters.
Gary greatly appreciates another chance at fatherhood, especially when it was such a challenge for him and Katherine to have children.
He met his second wife, then a communications manager, in 1999 when she hired him for a speaking engagement. They married seven years later and wanted to start a family.
Suffering from severe endometriosis, Katherine went through three rounds of IVF before she became pregnant with the twins. Overjoyed at the news, the couple were even more surprised when, four months after having their daughters, Katherine got pregnant naturally and gave birth to a third miracle baby.
“Imagine the shock,” Gary says, as he cradles little Evelyn. “Out of the blue we became parents again. I imagined in the later years of my life that I would settle down and have a quiet time. The odds of that happening now are very slim.”
Katherine adores being a mother and will never take parenthood for granted.
“It was going to be a long shot to have one, but to have three is a true blessing,” she explains.
“They are very good friends at the moment,” Katherine adds. “They love to play together and miss each other when one is away.”
Gary’s day starts at 4am, when he wakes up for the short commute to Christchurch for the radio show he hosts with Mitre 10 Dream Home presenter Simon Barnett. He’s home just after lunch, when he sometimes naps at the same time as his daughters.
Being a father at 62, Gary is not buying into the theory that fatherhood will help tokeep him youthful.
“I don’t believe in that rubbish,” he laughs. “They won’t be going camping or doing any outdoor activities.”
But Gary insists there are other advantages to his age.
“When you are young, you worry about everything,” he says. “When you’re older, all these things work themselves out. Having a parent who is confident and self-assured is something an older father can offer.”
However, Gary admits there is a stigma that comes with being a parent in your later years.
“I’m aware there is a slight prejudice. Some have said it’s not fair on the kids – that’s an absurd thing to say. It’s not a case of fairness, it’s what they are stuck with. I’m not trying to be the young father, I’m doing what I need to do within the parameters of my age to give my daughters the best in life.”
The smiling, happy faces of Bridie, Florence and Evelyn show they adore their dad, no matter how old he is.
“This is where I’m supposed to be. I love my job. I love my family. I’ve hit the bull’s-eye.”