Today I watched my daughter splash in muddy puddles. I have no pictures to prove it or commemorate the moment, but it will be etched in my mind always. I will forever hear her squeals of delight, intensified by the sound of mud squishing between her toes.
For just an instant I felt a sense of regret for not grabbing my camera. My family would have loved to see pictures, or even a video of Miss O splashing and laughing in the mud. I’m sure it would’ve gotten many “likes” from friends and family – it was pretty adorable – and lots of people would have gotten a chuckle out of it.
Instead the memory is just mine, and that’s okay. Not everything needs to be shared
Put Down the Camera
Have you ever watched a movie or seen a picture and wished you had been there to see the real thing? That’s because looking at life through a lens isn’t the same as living it.
Most of us are guilty of being so busy trying to capture a moment we forget to actually experience it. We take pictures of our kids blowing out candles instead of singing to them. We film our kids singing silly songs instead of listening and joining in.
Of course, our reasoning is that we want to remember special moments. We want to share them with our friends, family, and the internet at large. Maybe some small part of us is secretly hoping our kids go viral and become YouTube sensations.
But what are we giving up in the name of “memories”?
Enough is Enough
Last week we took a trip to Maine to visit family. We were lucky enough to be there on the first nice day of the spring and before all the tourists descended, so we had the beach all to ourselves.
I was clicking away getting pictures of the sand, the surf, us as a family, the dog, etc. Then I saw this:
I immediately lifted my camera and started clicking away. And then I stopped.
The second my camera stopped clicking my senses were overwhelmed. By the smell of the ocean. The sound of the waves and the seagulls. The feel of the wind whipping my hair around. And this sight. The sight of my little girl walking confidently forward, by herself.
How had I missed all that? We’d been at the beach for nearly half an hour and I hadn’t experienced any of it. I was so busy looking for capturable moments I forgot to look for livable ones.
Well enough is enough. I put the lens cap on my camera and just watched.
And while this is a beautiful picture and it will be printed and hung in our home, this picture is now more than beautiful to me. It’s a memory. When I look at it I can smell the ocean and hear the waves. I can remember the feeling of watching my daughter grow up before my eyes.
What Are We Really Missing?
“Let me get my camera. I don’t want to miss this.” Common words, especially once we become parents. But what are we really missing?
We always have a camera now. We never run out of film. We don’t have to choose our pictures carefully, like when we could only get 24 on a roll and had to pay to find out what they looked like. Capturing our lives has never been easier, but that may not always be a good thing.
In this age of Facebook and Instagram let’s not get too caught up in sharing our moments that we forget to live them.