LOVE: Ephraim Divine with his son Aeziah, at four months old. Ephraim says you can balance work and life at home.
Photo supplied
LOVE: Ephraim Divine with his son Aeziah, at four months old. Ephraim says you can balance work and life at home. Photo supplied

I will always remember October 17, 2009. This was the day my son Aeziah E’Mari Divine came into the world at 12:33 am in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In the midst of the nurses rushing around, machines blinking and beeping, I experienced a new emotion which it took me until recently to articulate into words. This was a sense of purpose.

I am fortunate enough to be a part of a family where both parents are still together and who have been involved throughout the lives of myself, my brother and sister. Others are not that lucky. So I am grateful.

My father’s drive for being the world’s best Dad to us was based on the absence of both of his parents.

Commitment

I recently joined him on a journey across two continents to piece together his family.

As painful as this was to watch, I was amazed to discover his commitment to keep going until he was content with his results.

Well, he outdid himself and picked up a brother, sisters and several nieces and nephews along the way. Most of them then came to Bermuda for my wedding on September 7, 2012, at Fourways Inn.

My girlfriend Kristin Loving and I were young parents, and we were still in university and maturing ourselves. I was 23 at the time and Kristin was 21.

I admired Kristin’s drive as she never stopped school and achieved her Bachelor’s degree in Child and Youth Studies on time, with a baby boy in hand.

I, on the other hand, limited school to part-time, worked at a telecommunications company full-time and also ran a photography business.

Many of my events were celebrity concerts and big promoted events with famous DJs in the hip-hop and reggae circles.

Several late nights were involved. It was not ideal but we worked it and were very happy. We had our home and our family life, and it was amazing.

On December 2, 2010, whilst putting up our Christmas tree, the most devastating news came through the phone. Kristin’s mum, Jackie Loving — Nana — was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Everything stopped. This is still painful. She was such a big part of everyone’s lives that she belonged to.

Within an hour I remember waving goodbye to Aeziah and my honey as they flew to Boston.

I later joined them for Christmas and then drove from Canada to Boston again in February. Little did I know this would be the last time I would see her. Sadly, Mommy Loving passed away on April 26, 2011.

Life was different after she died for obvious reasons, but also because I was now in Canada in our empty family home while Kriss and Zi were in Bermuda.

I truly experienced emptiness. His footballs, teddy bears and random scribbles on the wall kept him at the forefront of my mind. Blackberry voicemails made my day.

However, it didn’t matter how many times I flew to Bermuda and back, it just did not feel the same. It was hard on Kriss.

 What about Aeziah? Well now at three-years-old he is still fascinated by airplanes, simply because he was always on one and he knew that I would always come back. If I wasn’t there I would be on the plane.

I held onto this innocent observation by him and turned it into my mission to move to Bermuda and get our stability back.

Technology was great to me in the meanwhile. Skype and Facebook enabled me to still be involved.

I noticed that I was not the only one in this position and empathized immediately with all families who are separated by distance for whatever reason.

During the summer of 2011 I put a beautiful ring on Kristin’s finger at our favourite dock across Harrington Sound Primary School.

After this point I knew that it was time to prepare to move to Bermuda for good, as it was the best decision for my family.

By February 2012, I sold almost all of my photography equipment, ended the lease at our apartment and sold our car. It all seems like a blur now because it happened so fast but I just remember being powered by the thought of being a proper family again.

Happiness

Last year was an incredible year for us. We were married on September 7 and welcomed our baby girl, Aria Skye Divine, to the world the same month.

This time around it feels easier. Ironically, we are the busiest we have ever been. We both work, have two children and an energetic dog, but we are the most happiest and successful we have been in our five-year relationship.

Times have changed and parenthood wears many faces. There is still not a step-by-step guide to being a good parent, or in my case a good father.

However, I have learnt and still continue to learn that fatherhood is not a job, it is a lifestyle — and a very fun one. 

If you are lucky like I am, you could be living your dreams amongst your family. It is possible to win at work and at home! No trade-off needed.

Ephraim Divine is the online sales & marketing executive for the Bermuda Sun.