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A new phase of life for my firstborn

Just like every other parent I know, there are some moments in life that are just etched in your mind forever. Like that first cry your child made at the hospital which made you cry too. That moment she took her first few steps, or when she babbled those semi-incoherent words that you swore meant something. Lately, I’ve been feeling a little emotional too, as my 5+ year old is now about to leave preschool and head on to her first year in primary.

First day at preschool

It felt like just a few blinks ago when she stepped into preschool, all scared and tiny. Being a December baby, she was just 2 years and 1 month when she joined the 3 year old class in January. She blossomed from a timid girl to a confident and intelligent child. In fact, going into year 1, she is not fearful at all, but really more excited than the nervous wreck I am!

Packing up on her last day at preschool, just after her Merdeka party

I just want to cuddle her close to me, never wanting this baby to grow up. But she has, and she will continue to do so…growing more and more independent as a person. It’s hard to verbalise this feeling, so bittersweet. So proud of her, and yet this tinge of sadness that her baby years are ending faster than I am willing to acknowledge. Soon, I’ll have a teenager with acne and boyfriend problems and then the day will come when her dad will have to walk her down the aisle to the man she loves.

But for now, I’ll just cherish these memories and be brought back through time with captured moments.

Gearing up for Year 1 on orientation day

Why photos are important in daily life

It’s in the little moments. Those moments that we so easily forget within a year, a week or even a day. But it’s not just about capturing the moments. It’s about remembering the happiness that relationships bring. Photography helps you remember why you married your spouse so many years ago. It helps you remember those tiny little feet that brought a swelling to your heart the moment she was born. It even brings to mind that ‘slightly ugly family couch’ you lounged on years ago till your parents decided to finally buy a new one.

Sometimes we are caught up with the routines of daily life and hardly have time to reflect on things that bring us the greatest joy. If we are true to ourselves, we will acknowledge that real connections with the people most precious to us makes us happy. If we can just capture snippets of life with these people, and reflect on these memories when life throws us a hardball, we will begin to remember that feeling.

With the launch of new and better camera phones yearly, it’s no surprise that photography is pretty much a natural habit. But most of the time, we have snippets of so many memories taken without us being part of the picture. This is where I challenge you to include photography as part of your yearly personal budget… not viewed as an expense, but as an investment towards your future. You are building an album filled with happy memories.

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Happy birthday papa!

My dad turns 79 today. It almost felt like yesterday that I sat on his lap as a child. I remember those moments when I refused to go to bed at night even when I was exhausted – I would pretend to be awake in front of the TV, but then he knew better. There were times when he picked me up and carried me up the stairs to my bedroom, and I was probably about 20+kg at that time! Not a bad feat for a 5 foot man whose frame is pretty small too.

I also remember moments when I was studying for my exams and would stress out completely about it, but his words to me were… “Just do your best.” He was proud when I did well, but when I didn’t do so well, he would just say, “Just do better next time.”

My dad loved playing golf. Once, he got a hole-in-one and proudly hung his certificate on the wall of our home to show it off to everyone. There was one time too, when he swung his golf club a little over-enthusiastically inside our living room and accidentally knocked the chandelier, breaking it into a million pieces! (don’t ask me why he was doing that INSIDE the living room).

Unfortunately for my mum, my dad was a typical old-school ‘man’ who never really lifted a finger in the kitchen. My mum was a great cook but the kitchen was her domain, so she never got much help there. My mum’s a workaholic (just like how I am now!) so I do remember instances when he would lecture her into taking things easy and not stress out in the kitchen. Especially after she began having heart palpitations, but would still wake up at 5am to make hundreds of Chinese New Year cookies to fulfill the orders made by friends and neighbours.

Since I am the 3rd and final child in the family (with a huge age gap between my 2 older siblings!), I got away with a lot of things and was pampered as I was growing up. I used it to my advantage a lot (and also, though embarrassing to admit, I had temper tantrums too when I didn’t get my way). I don’t remember the rotan (cane) very much, like how my other siblings described their childhood, but now that I think back about it, I must have been a handful.

Due to my dad’s Alzheimer’s, I don’t really talk very much about these things to him anymore. He doesn’t realize it’s his birthday today, but just because he doesn’t remember, doesn’t mean that he cannot feel. So we’ll pop a small candle on Alex’s home made brownie later and sing a birthday song to him.

* Photos by Anna-Rina