One of the things that fills me up is taking pictures of my family. My heart swells at the chance to catch super special moments, candid belly laughs and big [and little] firsts on camera. My hope from the beginning was that my boys would look back many years from now and be grateful that they have snapshots of their childhood. I was anxious to have pictures that would help us both remember what made them tick, what made them excited and what filled them up as they grew.
Here's the thing, though: my little boys miss out on having their mama be a PART of those memories, rather than just standing by with her trusty Canon ready to capture as they experience it all. It makes them sad, which in turn, makes this mama's heart hurt, too.
Behind the camera is right there in my comfort zone, so as Adam says, "Hop on in this shot!" I usually come back with, "Well, I didn't really do my hair today . . ." or "I don't have any make-up on" or "Catch me when I'm 5-10 pounds down--I don't want to remember me like THIS." As I was wading through the piles of pictures on my computer one night, my heart sank at the idea of my boys looking back at all of these pictures--these memories--and thinking,
"I WONDER WHERE MOM WAS FOR ALL OF THIS?"
As much as I love documenting the everyday stuff, most days my little men are SO over mom taking yet another picture. The saddest part? I lost count of the times I reached for my camera and thought, "Well, this would make a really sweet blog post." Often times, behind the scenes, those smiles from my little men came with much too much pleading and prompting from this mama. Kind of sucked the fun right out of whatever we were doing in the first place.
I am on year three of writing and posting to my little space here, and I'm embarrassed to admit that for a while, I lost sight of why I was taking pictures and sharing stories in the first place. When other women's families, homes and photos are at your fingertips, it's easy to spend more time reading about (and comparing to) other people's lives than being present in your own. I am certainly guilty of giving in to the tug on my attention and the allure of the "really cool photo/post op." But my children . . . well, they deserve SO much better from their mama.
WHAT DOES IT MATTER IF I DOCUMENTED OUR LIVES TOGETHER IF THOSE MOMENTS WERE CAPTURED BUT NOT FULLY LIVED?
After taking a look at where I was placing my attention, joy and time, I ended up taking a little impromptu writing and photo fast. I jotted down precious moments and quotes that I wanted to be sure to remember, and grabbed my camera on some of the big days (like Noah and Mason's first day of school, harvest time for our little garden and my hubby's 10 year high school reunion), but I made sure that when I picked up my camera, my intentions were in order. And while I didn't photograph every little thing, I think I got a more focused shot of the bigger picture.