Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Delicate Balance

Experience the moment, or capture the moment?

I think that when you strip this question down, and you're talking about spending time with your babies, the answer seems obvious.  Experience the moment.


The moments are flying by.  There are times when I think back and can scarcely remember what the girls were doing a week ago.  The baby days are zipping by so quickly, and I don't want my memories to fade any more than they already do!

So where's the balance?

I've been thinking about this a lot recently.  This is probably because I finally got a camera that's quick enough to keep up with the antics of two very energetic and quick little girls.  For two and a half years I've been itching for a good camera, and about a month ago, we were finally able to make it happen.

It's a great camera.  There's a learning curve for sure, but I'm getting the hang of the different settings.  I'm definitely taking many more pictures than I had been since Reagan was born...or since Madison became mobile.  I love this camera, and although I wish I had a chance to use it when Madison was a tiny baby, I'm focusing on using it well now.

The tough part about that camera is that it's not exactly "pocket sized".  It's not something I bring to our weekly activities.  It's another bag, and when you are already carting two kids and at least one bag, it's one too many.  I try to leave it ready to go on the kitchen counter, but it does need to be a conscious decision to get up and get the camera.  To stop what we're doing together, so I can capture the moment.

I've got my phone of course, but even that is a stop, take it out, unlock the screen, hit the camera app, and take the picture.

And in that time, I'm no longer in the moment.  I'm not playing, I'm not guiding, I'm not cherishing.  I'm documenting.  There are times when Madison has said "Mommy, put down that camera and play/dance/color/cook with me!"

Wow.  Words of wisdom from the two year old.

But documenting is important too!  They will be little for such a short time, and memories age so badly.  I want to share pictures and experiences with friends and family who don't see the girls every day!  I want to remember the little things we do...those everyday moments.

Yesterday, Madison went to her first drop off/pre-school type class.  I opted not to bring the camera.  I knew it was going to be a new experience, and I wanted to experience it with her, as her mom, not her photographer.  A few days ago, Madison and I made play-doh together for the first time while Reagan slept.  We were working together; I measured, she poured, she stirred, I kneaded. Then we took our creation and played together.  It was so much fun for the two of us. Too much fun to stop, wash my hands, and pick up the camera.

But now I don't have pictures of those moments.

It's such a balancing act.  I don't know what the right balance is.  I definitely know that I don't have it down.  I don't know that I ever will.  I know I'll continue to take many, many, pictures of my family.  I also know that I will make sure never to leave a wonderful moment, simply so I can document it.  I want to be the mom helping the girls tear into their Christmas gifts, not the mom standing back to take a picture.

There is one thing I've committed to.  I started it back in October, and failed miserably, but I recommitted to it January 1.  I saw it on Pinterest, so I can't take credit.  I bought a weekly day planner with a space for each day.  Instead of writing down events, I'm writing down my favorite memories of each day.  Fun activities, things that made the girls giggle, things that made me giggle, mini milestones.  I'm keeping the books on my nightstand.  I'm really going to try to keep this up, so I can keep track of all those little moments.

Some days there will be pictures.  Some days there won't be.

But there will be memories.

I'd love to get some feedback.  How do you find balance? 


Tales of a Suburban Mom said...

I love this idea! Thanks for the inspiration!

Jenn @ Something Clever 2.0 said...

That's so cute! My cousin has a journal for each of her 3 kids that she writes in once a month, on their birthdays (i.e. every 11th, etc.). Shes been doing it for 10 years. I wish I'd thought to do that.

Anonymous said...

It's a tough balance. I always want pics of special times, but yes, it can be hard to stop and take them. My kids are now used to me saying "Wait, I want a picture," and they will often ask me to take one.

Unknown said...

I really did not take many pictures of my guys when they were little. Most of the ones I do have are from my parents. But oh, do I have memories. So many good memories.

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