Hawaii Family Photographer – Jim Dierking // Big Island Family Photography, Hilo, Kona »

A Hawaii family photographer’s 2016

What a year!

Whew!

2016 was a whirlwind of amazing sessions, great people, challenges that weighed me down, and lessons that lifted me up. It was probably the hardest and most stressful year I’ve ever had, but also my most successful, and every bit of that success was motivated by the biggest thing to happen to me — the birth of my daughter, Sharlotte, in February.

It literally took a single moment of hearing her wail and cry for the first time, hearing that beautiful, incredible sound, to leave me changed forever. I was clutching my wife’s hand tightly, her amazing fight through labor finally over, and I looked into her eyes, and I knew she had felt the same thing. It was as if an ancient, dormant side of us had woken up. Even now the very thought of our girl creates a surge of anxiety, worry, care and love that neither of us never knew could be so powerful. We love her! She is our love. She is our Sharlotte.

It’s the way she stuffs tofu in her mouth. Or the way her face turns dark red when she’s in a rage because I need to change her diaper again. And the way her babbling is loud enough to be heard a few aisles down in Target. The way she points to the morning moon with utter fascination and awe. I will do anything for that little being, my little lady Sharlotte. She is my purpose now, and being a stay at home Dad, on most weekdays she makes it abundantly clear that she cannot survive long without me.

I have to say, the stay at home Dad life is hard. It’s really good, don’t get me wrong! And the actual baby stuff hasn’t been too bad so far. But trying to get my photo work done (itself a full time job) is an exercise in frustration. Nothing I’ve ever done compares to the stress I feel every time I’m scrambling through work and — this literally just happened as I’m writing this — she just woke up from a nap that should’ve been longer, and I’ve hardly done enough work, and I haven’t even eaten breakfast or brushed my teeth yet.

On many days I awake with a question. How will I do this? How can I get my work done? And the answer, of course, is coffee.

Kidding. My wife, Syreeta, is an incredibly devoted Mom and is great about giving me a baby break on the weekends, and giving me time for work and for myself on weeknights. My parents help here and there too — if you hire me for a session, chances are Sharlotte will be with them while Syreeta finishes her 9 to 5 work day.

And speaking of my sessions — I have a huge amount of gratitude for my clients of 2016 — you’ve all been amazing, and have given my little family and I so, so much. Thank you! The year ended with my heart full, and this coming year is beginning with a clear mind. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for all of us, and I hope that if you’re reading this, we can connect, and capture some great memories together!

So long 2016, and thanks for all the fish!

Aloha,
Jim

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