Remember when you said as your newborn baby boy wrapped his tiny finger around yours, “I’ll never forget this.” But somehow it became 5 years later, and in the craziness of packing lunches and getting the kids off to school, you are pulled back to that memory and realize just how long it’s been since you thought about that? You thought you’d remember that feeling forever; but you didn’t.
Remember when your 8-month old daughter used to kiss your face with her slobbering mouth all over your cheek and it made you laugh-out-loud every time and you promised, “I’ll never forget this!” But in the middle of fixing dinner before the sport practices something reminds you of how silly that was and you realize how long ago that felt? You thought you’d remember that feeling forever, but you didn’t.
We all say it. We all believe it. We think our memories will serve us and we’ll be able to recall those feelings anytime we want. But a crazy thing happens when life gets moving and the moments we “never want to forget” get replaced with current experiences. It’s not to say those memories are any less important, not in the least. But like so many things, whatever is current, is far easier to recall. Hence the power of photographs.
Today I was going through old files and I came across this image and it stopped me in my tracks. Frozen. This was one of those moments.
I was never going to forget this. The first day of preschool for Molly and Kindergarten for Jackson. We had picked out her special lunch box, Jackson had got a new ‘big kid’ backpack. He was ready and she was nervous. I couldn’t wait to take the picture, (even though I was never going to forget it), I wanted the picture just to remind myself of what I felt that day. Somehow, 5 years has passed and I’ve rarely thought about the way I felt that day. Was it a big day then? Oh yes. Has a lot happened since then? You bet. But here’s the crazy part – I look at this image and I’m immediately transported back to that morning. What a magical gift! I’ve said it 1000 times; I am incredibly grateful to document my own family life and the memories of so many other families too.
This photograph may look like a cute snapshot of my kids from 5 years ago on the first day of school, but it’s not. It is so much more. It.is.everything to me. It is my whole heart right there in print (or on screen), right in front of you. You see, when you look at this photo, you may see an adorable little man and his timid little sister, doing just as their Mom asked; standing together and looking at her. But me? I see so much more.
To my sweet boy: When I look at this photo of you, I see the love and protection you have for your sister; gently connected with your arm around her, but still standing strong on your own two feet. I see the squishy smirk you make when you are really wishing you could run off to your next adventure rather than humor me for a quick photo. I see the evidence of being ‘all boy’ by the scrape on your chin you got when running faster than your little feet could move. I see your crooked haircut that reminds me how you are always on the go. I see the dirt under your nails from playing outside; one of your favorite places to be. I see your little toes peeking out of your sandals which reminds me how much you hate to wear socks! I see your soft pink cheeks that I’ve kissed 1000 times over that reminds me you have a heart with so much love. I see your ‘big boy’ backpack straps that reminds me how quickly you grow up and won’t stay little forever. But most of all, I see your spirit. Your joyful, busy, excited, loving, happy soul. Don’t ever loose those gifts, Jackson. I love you bigger than the sky..
To my angel face girl: When I look in your eyes, all I can see is pure love. Your piercing blue eyes against your perfect complexion looks like a doll. Your tiny hands barely clasped around your fairy lunchbox reminds me how much you love school. Your whispy hair bunched right on top of your head reminds me how girly you are! Your little white shoes remind me you always have to look fashionable (even when you were 2!) Your shoulder leaned slightly into Jackson reminds me how much you love him and trust him. Your amazing little mouth with a combination of a faint smile and a serious stare reminds me of your shyness. When I look at this photo I see so much joy and love radiating from your sweet little serious face in your own little mousy way. You’re beautiful on the inside and out, my sweet girl. Your heart is bigger than the ocean and your love goes farther than the moon. You are such a special soul, Molly girl. Thank you for choosing me to be your Mommy. I love you bigger than the sky.
So, in an effort to curb this empty promise of remembering that which we simply can’t control, I am vowing to take my camera out to document more of my own life this year. To capture the fleeting memories for my own family, just like I do for so many others. I vow to make it a priority and soak in the moments because time really does go so fast.
Give your children the gift of memories. Document their lives with more than an iPhone. While I’m a big believer in using the camera you have (and most of the time my own family memories are documented with my iPhone) I think it’s equally important to make a point to give your family legacy the memories they deserve.
I am grateful for the unexpected walk down memory lane this afternoon and feeling excited about the renewed desire to document our memories. Thank you for sharing this memory with me. While we can be our own worst critics try to remember, go for progress, not perfection.
In love and gratitude,