We are fortunate to be able to see the fireworks at the nation's capital many years, since my in-laws live there (and even better, since my father-in-law works downtown, we use his parking pass to grab a convenient spot!). I waxed philosophical about the role of the mom and her camera. It originally posted August 9, 2006, but I thought you'd enjoy it today, in honor of the 4th of July.
A photojournalist sees some amazing things. Through a lens, she can capture governments being overthrown, lives lost and freed at war, cultural mores changing, and even simple everyday moments. But those pictures she is taking are completely separate from the life she is living.
I was thinking of this as we were on our whale watching trip (edited note from 2009 -- read that one too, it's fun). I wanted to get some good photos, but you often miss so much when you are looking through the camera lens. That happened when we were watching fireworks last year in Washington DC with my inlaws. It was amazing. Awe-inspiring. Breathtaking. I wanted to capture it on film. Better with flash, or without? Let's try night flash. Maybe the action setting. On and on. I ended up getting some fair pictures, but I think I missed out on the experience.
I should have just been watching, like they were.
Or, for that matter, hooting and hollering and cheering them on like she was:
So, on the whale watching excursion, I did watch. I took some pictures, too, but I didn't feel bad if I missed "the shot." I even "let" Terry have some fun with the camera, and many of the great shots are his. I won't forget those large mammals, and the photos don't accurately capture the experience anyway.
That's kind of like it is with our kids. We have to just be with them, and take in the whole experience (not just the perfect Kodak moments). When I see pictures of the kids, from even months ago, I often think, "Did she/he really look like that?" It seems like who they are continues to change and so that becomes my current perception of them. A picture doesn't capture the way that Kyle says, "Wha'?" anytime you mention his name or catch him offguard (like last night, when Amanda screamed out two sentences in her sleep). Even a video can't capture Amanda's enthusiasm for life and her imaginative perspective on things.
Read Beck's post, or at least the last couple of paragraphs, here . She voiced her thoughts on why she doesn't have a lot of video footage of her kids. It's really beautiful.
NOT taking pictures is what works for me. Try to capture some memories in your heart as you live it. Journaling (and blogging for that matter) really appeal to me, because I am able to record the whys and the hows behind the picture frozen on film. I am not a dedicated scrapbooker, but that was what I loved when I was first introduced to Creative Memories. I don't worry about my poor handwriting on those pages. I capture my thoughts or our family's reactions to trips we've taken. In fact, I think that my handwriting becomes part of the recorded history.