Monday, January 31, 2022

photographs and feelings

I spent last night browsing my archive of photo albums that we scanned some 15 years ago. What I was really looking for was a photograph of dad to frame for posterity. Something much more difficult than I had anticipated, simply because dad was behind the camera most of the time. The few photos of him were honestly of a much lower standard than the ones he clicked, simply because he was usually the best photographer in the room. I wonder how many people took a tripod on their honeymoon - certainly nobody I've asked!

As I scrolled past the hundreds of photos he clicked over 20 years, I thought back over the moments they captured - mostly events like birthdays, vacations, Christmas and the like, but also... all the pots and pans aligned in the kitchen, because he was amused by how mom arranged them so uniformly 😁

Playing with the neighbours (those planks of wood were my favourite toys at one point - and we were so violent with that double decker bus that it was retired when the top deck broke off!)

Me in hospital for apendicitis (yeah, only dad could think of clicking a photo of that!)

The weird thing about that day is, I remember he made me laugh so hard for so long I literally hated him for it - because laughing hard would make my stitches ache, and yet I couldn't help myself! Yeah, he had me in stitches 😂

A random photo of me chopping tomatoes (followed by one of Kevin chopping what looked like apples!)

Kevin and me enjoying mangoes (the photo was taken to keep a record of how messy eaters we were!)

Kevin and me posing with our creations (The houses were made using Bayco - from the 60s! Also, there's a mecanno crane in the corner of the room - another of dad's hand-me-downs)

The wonderful thing is, while dad is not captured in this photos, every he moment captured had his imprint.

My childhood wasn't perfect, but he did his best to make it magical. And when we grew up, he receded into the background and let us do our thing. His camera stopped working in 1999 (the film door started leaking light, to be specific - it gave the last couple of albums a band of red on one edge), and the next albums were clicked by me from 2004 on this point-and-shoot I was gifted. Suddenly, his imprint was pretty much gone. It was as if he had let go and let me fly.

But there is one thing never captured in any photo, that I feel every other moment of my day: his hugs.

Barring mom and possibly Kevin, I don't think anyone will ever know the warmth of his affection the way I did. I am still stuck in the moment I said goodbye to him, before I walked downstairs to catch the cab to the airport. I told him to take care of himself. He told me to call him when I reached Belfast. And gave me one last warm hug.

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