August 28 2014

August 28 2007 is a day I will never forget. I became a father on that day to a beautiful little girl we called Sumi-Anna. Sumi is Korean and Anna, well Anna is international. Growing up I had many dreams, ambitions, desires. But the one that burned and burned was to become a father. I had to wait for this for what seemed like always; what seemed like never. But it came like that old cliche – when I least expected it. And that moment when we left the labour room, my wife with our newborn in her arms and us holding each other’s hand was the greatest feeling I have ever experienced in my life.

Before becoming a father, I read and was told by everyone that it would change me; that I would not recognise myself when I became a father. I looked forward to that so much, eager as I was to leave my old life behind. Around the time she was born I remember checking to see if this was true and honestly, then I felt no different. Fast forward a few months and I could not recall how life was like before she was born. Everything had changed.

Being a father is the hardest job I ever have had. She is seven today. She woke at 6 in excitement. She and her brother played as quietly as exuberant little children can as their parents try to get just that little bit extra sleep. As I am writing this, she is singing around the house.

We have a little birthday tradition. We get a double decker bus into the city centre and sit at the front on the top deck. We go for a smoothie and a little cake and after that we head to Waterstone’s where she picks out some new books. Along the way, I will try to get photographs of the two of us together. Today, I let her take photographs. She loves it when I give her the camera. When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, she tells us ‘ a photographer!’

On the bus, I ask her will you remember this and before she responds she looks at me, tilts her head a little, gives me a smile and shaking her head from side to side she says: “Daddy, of course I will. How can I forget my birthday? On the way home, we try to get the seats at the front upstairs again. Luckily, we do. The bus bobbles along and Sumia is non-stop chatter. I hold her hand and wait until next year. I won’t forget these days either.

The photograph I chose to post on Flickr today is one of my very favourites of Sumi-Anna. It was taken when she was just over two years old. Taken in the back garden of my parents’ house. My mother (Sumi-Anna’s bestest friend) was sitting on this little bench reading Candide. Sumi-Anna was playing in the garden. Granny was reading. This caused curiosity. She toddled over, took the book, turned it over and over in her hands and then sat down, opened it up upside down and stared for the longest time at the indecipherable text. As fortune would have it, I had the camera with me.

This image we have printed and it hangs in our bedroom.

Happy Birthday, Sumia! Juah!

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Happy Birthday

The iPhone image I chose for today is one of her playing in the garden on the swing. This summer has been fantastic by Irish standards. It has been raining the past few days and makes you realise how few days of rain we have had this summer. I hope as she gets older exuberance is never far.

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Sumi-Anna

 

 

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8 responses to “August 28 2014

  1. If all children could keep exurberance near and forever…Thoroughly enjoyed the post Brendan. You moved me today. Thank you.

    • Thanks Stephen, I wonder at times if I share too much on the Internet. If I should keep these things private, but making a connection like this with you, a fellow photographer, a fellow father, makes me think I should share.
      I appreciate your comment a lot, Stephen. Thanks!

  2. This was a lovely story to read. I like your family traditions and the way you all seem to enjoy each other so much. She and her brother are truly blessed to have such loving and devoted and creative parents. And of course even though I have not met her her spirit shines through the photographs and your writing. May she flourish and grow (not too fast) and always have that wonderful bubble with her.

  3. What a delightful post.

    Sumi-Anna is just a year older than my daughter but some of the simple things you do together (bus rides and taking photos) are my favourite things to do with my girl Scarlett. It’s time and attention that kids need, not xBox’s and Playstations. I imagine she had a wonderful Birthday, spending time with her parents and choosing a book.

    Being a dad is the hardest thing in the world, and so it should be. It’s the thing we should put the most effort into and derive the most joy from. It’s the important stuff.

    The upside down book is simply perfect.

    • Thanks Lee. Fully agree about it being the hardest job in the world – and you can only learn by doing.
      Scarlett is a beautiful name. Ya, the things we do like bus rides, cycling and collecting chesnuts – those are the memories – not time sat in front of the TV watching cartoons.
      Thanks for dropping by.
      B

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