It’s November, the holidays are in full swing, and parents of young children know what that means: family traditions, spending quality time together, and most importantly, pictures to prove it really happened. As parents, we try our best to create loving memories that our children can cherish for a lifetime. But we all know special moments are basically worthless if we don’t document them.
Last summer, I was so relieved after my son’s first birthday party was over. I don’t know if he enjoyed himself or had a clue what was going on, but he sure looks like he had a blast in all the pictures, because as soon as all the other kids and babies arrived, I wouldn’t let anyone eat or play until we got photos first. This worked out beautifully because once we got the photos of the party out of the way, we were free to actually have the party that we had just photographed.
Most parents feel proud on the child’s first birthday. Keeping your bundle of joy alive and healthy for an entire year is a huge milestone. But of all the accomplishments: the healthy birth, the successful breastfeeding, the sleep training, I was most proud of the fact that we got those 12 monthly photos of him – now that was a lot of work. I had to set a reminder on my phone and everything.
I don’t think I’m enjoying all his firsts very much at all. I’m just trying to make sure they all happen – and on camera. I can enjoy the moments later when I look at all those great pictures.
Me to husband: “Oh look, honey, it’s his first tantrum at Target! Quick get a picture of us. Hey, let’s get my latte in the picture. That would be funny! Shoot, he stopped. Keep your phone out, if he starts up again, I want to get one with the puppy filter.”
In fact, I prefer my son’s second time doing everything because I can simply be there and watch: second haircut, second word, second public tantrum. It’s just fun to truly experience these things when you’re not trying to film them.
I’ve learned a lot about parenting in the past 16 months, but most of all, I’m learning to live in-the-moment, to try to be present when fun things are actually happening, and to let myself enjoy it, not worrying about capturing it all on camera.
For starters, I’m going to enjoy the holidays with my family this year, for my son’s second Christmas. I don’t need to take a picture of everything he does. No, because I hired a photographer to follow us around and do it for me. She says we can get printouts and a dvd of it all, no problem.