The Pictures I Should Take/ The Pictures I Can Let Go

Friday, July 2, 2010

Yesterday, I saw the most beautiful Ferris wheel, bright in its white, red, blue and yellow carnival paint. I saw fluffy tufts of cotton candy... Sun flare behind colorful walls filled with texture and interesting details. I saw my kiddo and hubby with huge smiles on their faces as they walked through crowds of people. I saw Bugs Bunny, dang it!

Yesterday, Joe, Noah and I packed up and headed to Six Flags for the evening. It was a spontaneous, last-minute thing, only decided once we saw that there was reduced prices for the after-4 p.m. crowd. We gathered sunscreen, water, wallets, hats, and cell phones. Snacks. Good shoes. And as we headed to the front door, I hesitated on the threshold, debating.

I should grab the camera. Ugh-- but its so BIG, so heavy... I could bring the Flip video camera.... But... Nope. Ya know what? Nope.

And I walked out the door, sans recording device. And those things I saw while at Six Flags? The colors, the carnival details, the happy faces? I didn't get a single photo of them. But you know what? Those are the pictures I can let go. Because the final straw in my debate at the threshold of my door was, Do I want to spend my time this evening looking for PERFECT PHOTO MOMENTS, or do I want to just LET GO AND HAVE REAL FUN?

Even with a smaller, cheaper camera on me, I would have been feeling like I needed to STOP, step OUTSIDE of the moment, and "grab it". It's just how I roll, ya know?

But sometimes... SOMETIMES.... it's okay to let those photos go. I will always remember our gorgeous evening last night. The image of that Ferris wheel is IMPRINTED on my brain. And the physical radiating JOY on my son's face is in there too. And while even those inner images might fade, I truly feel like I enjoyed last night a million times MORE because I was there, in the moment, the whole time.

I happily let those pictures go. I don't need them to remember what a special evening that was.

Also yesterday, earlier, Noah and I had the run of our small house together. Just the two of us. Me and my perma-buddy. We ate breakfast in our jammies together. We shared tall cups of cold water. We played with trains and books and dinosaurs. When I went to another room, his reliable footsteps padded behind me. When I headed down any stairs, he asked "May I please have a hold you?" and I gave him piggy back rides. (He's finally big enough to fit!) We read French flash cards for the pictures, and we shared orange Cheezit crackers while watching Mickey Mouse. I gave him a little backpack to stash toys in, and he asked if he could wear one of my "hats" (headbands) as I got my hair in shape for the day. I didn't have any makeup on. We didn't do anything out of the ordinary.

But when I stopped, and SAW my little man... REALLY saw him....


My love for him and the fleeting, wistful knowledge of being his mama filled me to the brim. This moment-- THIS Noah, is but temporary. These days, ordinary, messy, without any awards or acclaim, are the ones we need to remember. THESE MOMENTS:

And while I'll always be the good historian/photographer and photograph birthday parties and Christmas and vacations, I need to remember that THESE images, the ones above--- snapshots of my loved ones being extraordinarily ORDINARY-- these are the pictures I should take more.

Because those are the moments we forget precisely because they were ordinary. But they are the moments we'll miss the most, when those reliable little footsteps aren't right behind me anymore...

I learn as I go. And this lesson, to me, is authentic to my spirit. Photograph more ordinary stuff, and give yourself permission to put the camera away during some of the extraordinary stuff so you can really experience it as it happens.

All in all, yesterday was just about perfect.


  1. Beautiful reminder. Thanks, Em. Miss you!

  2. Yes, it was. Thanks for letting us take a part in your perfect day.

  3. I love that headband on Noah! And I agree that we really don't stop to notice the ordinary things in our lives. We look forward to the extraordinary but never really pat attention to the small things that make our lives bearable. I only just had this realization a few days ago, and you really expressed my thoughts well in this post.

    On a side note, I HATE that I didn't go to Six Flags now. If I had known that JonoMily were going to be in attendance, I wouldn't have thought twice about going.

  4. I have the hardest time with that! Like for some reason the memory won't stay if it's not on film. But it sure can be a burden sometimes. That Noah is so delicious and I loved this post! Happy 4th!

  5. I love this post--I think about it a lot, too, how to balance living and recording. Really interesting thoughts:)

  6. Oh, and PS--i didn't know you used to scrapbook! What made you stop?

  7. This post really resonated with me. On the last day of pre-k for Ty, I had had an enormous amount of stuff to bring with me to school that morning. More than I could carry comfortably, not including a toddler. I really struggled with whether or not I should bring the camera that morning. And in the end, it was just too much - too much to worry about. Too much to lug. I asked one of the other moms if she would email me pictures, which she did. After reading this, I definitely feel I made the right choice. Thank you!

    P.S. Such a cute backpack. Funny, my kids have the same one... ;-)

  8. When Saoirse blew put her birthday candles this year I wished that I wasn't holding a camera. Just for a second.

  9. This may have been my most favorite post of yours ever....Yup, I think so.


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