When you’re a parent you do a lot of things that probably wouldn’t be your first choice if given the option, but instead you decide to do things that your children want to do. You make plans and do fun things (fun for the kiddos especially) with their best interests in mind.
I’ve found myself really exhausted this pregnancy, and in all honesty I don’t feel like doing a thing. This was even more true today since I awoke at 6 a.m. to go renew my CPR, yet still I found myself loading the kids up for an outing.
Where are the towels?! Really, where did they go? No one knew the beach towel whereabouts anymore than they knew how to pack a bag for a day at the splash pad, so I found myself alone stuffing bathroom towels, sunscreen, and water bottles in a bag.
As with most fun plans, Mom ends up doing the brunt of the work while everyone else sits back and asks “are we there yet?” But it’s nine times out of ten worth it when you reach the destination and excited little voices cry out in delight. I love that part, and it’s a big reason I do it.
After the bags were unloaded and a plethora of sunblock was applied I sat back on a park bench allowing the sun to bake me, and I smiled contentedly as I watched my children play. The joy on their faces, the musical laughter, the squeals of delight. I breathed it all in and I felt full. Full of my own parental delight in seeing my children enjoy life’s simple pleasures.
The blue sky was radiant, and a smattering of just the right number of clouds filled the horizon. It was perfect. I looked at the children splashing around, and they were perfect. So I grabbed for my phone.
I clicked away, taking several shots, and I beamed proudly as I asked the girls to “look here. Smile.” I glanced over to my right, and there I saw some women on another bench watching me intently. I felt a moment of shame for some reason, and I walked back quickly to my seat to put my camera phone away.
I sat back down, and I watched the girls again. I hadn’t really stopped watching them, but I realized my moment of unexpected discomfort came because of the recently popular stigma about mommas with their iPhones. I had read all the blogs and articles warning of the error made by many of living through the lens. They claimed that too many people were so busy snapping photos of the precious moments that they couldn’t enjoy them, and I guess the thought that I was missing out on any of the amazing things going on around me just left me bothered. I didn’t want to let this pass by.
I slid my phone into a pocket of the beach bag, never taking my eyes from the exuberant chaos that abounded. They ran, and they giggled in surprise as huge sprays of unexpected water caught them off guard. I laughed too.
I had been up several times intermittently running through the water with them, and we had all had fun, but my most favorite part was just sitting silently and watching their faces. I could feed off of it for days, and as I watched my four year old straddled over one of the sprinklers I was enamored by her beauty. Something about the way the sunlight made her blue eyes shine, or perhaps how the excitement transformed her already lovely features into the most gorgeous sight I had ever seen. So I reached for my phone.
I realized then as I watched her why I do it. It’s true, I take far too many pictures with my iPhone, but I know why I do. As I looked at my little girl playing so carefree, the same little girl who insisted on growing another inch every single day, I knew I just didn’t want to miss it. I wanted to capture every single smile, every laugh, and every lovely moment in all its glory.
I wasn’t missing out; I was memorializing it. I wasn’t lost behind the lens; I was living through it too. I was there, and I was present. I just didn’t want to forget. Ever.
I smiled over at the ladies on the bench to my right, and I took a video as my girls ran through the spray. Good one, I thought. And it was. I wasn’t ashamed of loving the moment so much that I wanted a static memory to take from it. Tons of just such memories lay in photo albums and picture boxes in my home, and I was more than happy to add to the collection. I wasn’t embarrassed that I took far too many iPhone photos, because for me it would probably never be enough. I could never take too many pictures of their perfect little faces.
And I knew that one day my grown children would find these photos in an album much as I did when I looked through my mother’s things after she passed away. They may not remember this day thirty years from now, but they would when they saw the pictures.
I put the camera phone back in its pocket, and I ran to join them. We laughed, and we squealed together in delight as the water took us unaware. It was wonderful, it was perfect.
And then, “Look at me Momma.” My toddler cried out excitedly, “Take my picture!”
And so I did.