My 2 year old, Corbin, is notorious for looking up, down and all around when I am trying to take a picture of him. Usually I’m flapping my arms, whistling, dancing a jig and doing something altogether obnoxious and embarrassing in hopes of getting that perfect picture. When I finally give up and walk away, that is when I usually hear “CHEEEEEESE!” and look back to see the simple heart-warming smile of a recently completely uncooperative toddler.
If you’re like me, you know that this time with your Littles is fleeting and you want all of the mementos you can salvage. Photo albums, baby books and scrapbooks are a great way to share your moments and to ensure heartfelt future reminiscing. They can, however, be an enormous amount of effort. Let me walk you through merely one attempt at a photo entry in the baby book…
I walk out of the bathroom and find my boys are cuddled together on the couch. My three-year-old, Landon, has his arm around my two-year-old, Corbin, who is leaning his head on Landon’s shoulder. Where’s my camera, where’s my camera! I hurry past and rummage through my bag until I retrieve my magical moment capturing device. I rush back now with the slightest of anxiety that I have missed this monumental moment in time. With a deep sigh of relief I see that I am not too late. I snap the picture. No flash! What the holy heck?! How does this thing… there should just be a flash button. Oh, there is. There. Got it. Now Landon jumps up and I yell “NOOOO! Sit back down, Landon, I want to take a picture.” “Mommy, I will take a picture. You hug Corbin.” I pick Landon up and sit him back down. “Okay, we can do that next, but first I want this picture. Just put your arm around Corbin again.” Landon wiggles out and runs away yelling “I don’t like Corbin, he smells like poopy.” Now Corbin is down and chasing Landon. “WHO WANTS A MARSHMALLOW!” I yell, without considering that it’s 6:45am, no one has had breakfast yet, and maybe marshmallows aren’t the best way to start the day. Whatever, it worked! They both come running back, and as I hold a bag of marshmallows, giving them one as each order is followed. I begin snapping pictures, but this manufactured moment is not happening. Then finally as I take the perfect shot….my battery dies. Seriously, I couldn’t make this up. There they are sitting perfectly, arms around each other, and my camera just shuts off.
Had I actually succeeded, I would have asked my hubby to upload the picture, as my attempts to upload and download things generally end in something getting broken. Then I would log on and order my prints, which would undoubtedly be done with a Corbin on my hip as he tried to cancel my order the entire time. Finally when the photos arrive I would put them in my “I need to handle this” drawer where they would sit for months and every time I opened the drawer I would feel a sense of disgust in how I hadn’t bothered to take the 3 minutes to put the photos in the baby books. Finally, one day when the house is quiet and the spirit moved me, I would snatch up my little treasures, scurry into the attic and tape them in the baby book while whimsically flipping through at other shining moments before hearing a sudden crash and realizing I left the boys unattended downstairs.
I really do love having photos and records of all of our favorite moments and events and I wish I could hire a crew to follow us around and scrapbook the highlights of every day, but one day it came to me ever so clearly, “Don’t be so busy capturing the moment that you forget to live in it.” This hit me hard enough that I wrote it on a piece of paper and put it up on my refrigerator. It brings me peace when the bustle of living life makes recording it impossible. We always hear about living in the moment, but most of our life is geared toward preserving it. Sometimes I remind myself that when my children are grown, I will have other ventures…maybe grandchildren, a career, new and old friendships to maintain. Why do I assume I will want to spend all of my time living in the past? Yes, I hope I always remember these days – and if a photo or a scrapbook can bring future smiles then I am more than happy to do my best to maintain these things – but why give up a smile today in hopes of one tomorrow?
Take this challenge with me. The next time I happen upon a moment that makes my heart swell and fills me with a bursting joy, I, Janaiah von Hassel, refuse to run off in search of my camera. One day when my baby books are audited and I am asked why there are missing photos and information, I will simply say “we were so busy making memories that we didn’t always have time to capture them.”
INSERT PERFECT PICTURE HERE