Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When Taking Pictures Gets In The Way

A few years ago, my brothers, John, and I had a friend take pictures of us so we could give the pictures to my parents as gifts.  I kept some of the pictures as well and two of them are hanging in my house.  One of the pictures is a great picture of all of us smiling and looking into the camera.  Another picture is a little blurry and we're all cracking up and I can describe exactly what's happening: Daniel's the one making the joke, John and I are laughing, and Joseph is trying to come up with the next joke to top the one Daniel just said.  The second-not-perfect picture is my favorite, because it represents who we are.

That's how pictures work.
They capture the moment.
They remind of us a moment or a time or a special event.  
They help us remember.  

Yesterday the weather was extremely warm and it made me so excited!  Besides being a huge fan of warm weather in general, I'm really anticipating not having to layer clothes on the kids.  Specifically, I'm looking forward to more of Fern's fat legs and arms to be exposed so I can kiss on them and squeeze them and feel the softness.  

Yesterday was the first day ever that Fern wore bloomers with bare legs and I was flipping out.  It was just too incredible!  While the boys were mowing the lawn, I took pictures of her.  I want to remember all that skin.  All that soft, chunky baby skin.

Then, we went outside and watched the boys mow the lawn.  I snapped some pictures.  

Burl was looking forward to it all day.

"After your nap, when Daddy gets home, yall are going to mow the lawn."
"Yeah.  My-my?"
"yes, you can mow the lawn too."

They did.  He mowed the lawn.  Poured the gas.  Got started.  

Mowing the lawn is great for Burl.  He loves it, but things can (and did) turn ugly easily.  He loves it so much that if there are any hitches, his little world comes crumbling down.  Kind of like vacation, we can put so much pressure on it to be perfect, that we forget to actually relax and enjoy it.  I got pictures that I don't want to post of Burl crying after this.  Years later, when I look at those pictures, I hope to remember how much he loved it and how hard it was when it wasn't perfect and how John and I handled the situation.  

Then, there is breakfast time.  The kids and I have a little routine for breakfast and it is incredible.  I think I'm just now realizing how special it is to have that time with them.  I usually take a picture every morning of us and send it to John at work.  Cooking, eating, talking, making faces, reading our little book.  I love it all.

I finally got pictures of Fern's new thing: looking up when we come in her room to get her from a nap.  She is all smiles and excitement and it makes me feel so warm and fluffy inside.  To make a baby smile is a cool thing, to make my own baby smile by just walking in the room is an exhilarating thing.  

And these are all memories that I want, no that I NEED on file.  And I'm so glad that I have a camera and files and computer storage and all that good stuff to take the pictures.  But, I'm trying to let go.  I'm trying to take the pressure off myself to not feel like I have to get everything on file.  I don't need a photograph of every moment.  

Today, I put my camera down after breakfast and just watched and tried to burn as much as I could into my memory bank.  Burl was running down a tree stump that is slightly higher than the ground.  We're talking 4 inches in elevation.  He did his little toddler run and his shoulders bounced and he cackled with laughter as I said "weeeeee."  He did this about 30 times in a row and it hurt.

I put Fern in a little dress without sleeves and she was happy and smiling and so content to just be.  She came alive when we talked to her and smiled with her whole body and it hurt.

It hurt because it's so great!  Kinda like the happy cry.  I know those are the moments that I'm going to miss.  Sometimes, trying to record that moment, trying to get the perfect angle, the perfect shot, can taint that for me.  Today, the camera stayed inside and I played and held and laughed and watched and it felt good.  Sometimes taking pictures can get in the way.  With the hundreds of pictures that I take every month, I think it's safe to say I'll have a good record of their childhood.  

1 comment:

  1. I know I say this all the time...but...I am so jealous. I miss those days so much it almost makes me cry reading your rendition of it. Enjoy these little people because, you will miss the melt downs and the naps and all of the magic that is little kids. What comes later is every single bit as special and wonderful, but very different.
    I may have to come over and squeeze your kids...