Gents this one's for you.
To all the dads who didn't really want to have their photo taken. I know. I saw you. THANK YOU FOR DOING IT ANYWAY. It wasn't really your idea, but out of the goodness of your heart you humoured your partner. You knew how important this record of the growth of your family was to them and you went along. Deep down you knew that it was probably important to you too.
I saw the awkward eye glance and your shoulders stiffen when I walked in. "Oh god, here we go - am I going to look like a total knob? I HATE having my photo taken!". I knew you'd rather be in the garden, or catching up on some work or coaching on the sideline or grabbing a coffee. You'd rather be anywhere but here. But you did it anyway.
So we talked, and we joked. And you opened up about how scary and weird and tiring and amazing it is being a dad. About how you have no idea what you're doing really and you just wait to be told what to do next.
You told me about life before being a dad. What you do for a job and a little about your hobbies. But you know the thing that actually made your eyes sparkle? It was when you cuddled your kids. It was when you held your new baby and you marvelled at just how unfathomably tiny their hands and feet and noses are. It was when you kissed the top of your baby's head and smelled that intoxicating new baby smell. It was when you threw your toddler in the air - and you both laughed - together. It was when you opened your palms and your pockets and generously agreed to carry whatever rocks and flowers and leaves had been gathered in the park. And it was when you didn't know that I saw you look at your amazing partner and marvel that they had helped you become this new thing - a dad.
Thank you for being brave enough to step in front of my lens - even when you didn't really want to. Thank you for being present and for making those incredible memories with your family. Thank you for being the very best dad a dad can be. From me, and from the people who will look back at those images year after year and know how much you love them - thank you. (And Happy Father's Day).