Admittedly, I take a ton of pictures. There’s an abundance of photos from day one, of both children. I don’t think my photo taking obsession really began until I had children and I become this weird photo-crazed person. I sort of self-evaluated my photo taking obsession and eventually deemed it was probably because of this whole fleeting time concept. Maybe if I have photos every day I can somehow capture this time. Sadly, it just doesn’t work that way. I’m left with a full hard drive, a full phone, and a million photo albums that sit in the closet.
Lately, I’ve come to a scary conclusion, one that I have a hard time typing on this blog because it means I’m giving it some acknowledgement. I need to put my camera down and be present more.
The truth is, I don’t need to lug that camera around everywhere I go. I don’t have to have my iPhone in my hand ready for the perfect photo op at all times.
I don’t want to be so fixated on the picture of the moment that I miss the actual moment.
Let me tell you a little story that helped me arrive at this conclusion. Last weekend, my grandmother told us the vegetables in the garden were close to being ready. Immediately, I thought of the fun I had when I was little and helped out with the garden. And of course, I thought of Braylen and how she’s just the right age to really understand what we’re doing and have a little fun with the process.
All of those are completely sane thoughts. Here’s the kicker, I thought about how I might photograph this moment. Would the sun be behind her as she was picking the perfect pea, would she cooperate while I took some photos of her bending down and picking some squash.
No. The answer is no. Of course she isn’t going to pose for a photo while she’s playing in the dirt and picking vegetables in the garden. It’s not a photo shoot, I’m not a professional photographer, and who really cares?
I don’t think I have a single picture in my grandparents garden picking vegetables. I can’t count the number of times I helped out when I was growing up. I have some funny stories. I have some excellent memories. But, I’ve never seen a photo, and I don’t need one. I remember what it smelled like, I remember how hot it was, I remember how much fun I had playing in the buckets of shelled peas and kicking dirt between the rows of corn.
Just like I’ll look back on these days and remember them fondly. I’ll remember what it felt like to rock a sleeping baby, I’ll remember Braylen in dress up clothes and nightly performance in the living room, I’ll remember these days because they’re important and they’re real and they’re ours. I won’t need a photo. Sure, the photos will be fun to look at, but when the house is quiet it’ll be the memories that I’ll cherish most.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I won’t take hundreds of photos over the next year. I’ll capture milestone moments and small moments, I’ll capture sweet sleeping baby moments, I’ll capture first days of school and sweet smiling faces.
I just don’t want to be so caught up in the photo that I miss the moment. I’m not willing to sacrifice the perfect moment to capture the perfect photo.
If that’s the case, I don’t need to have a picture of that.