Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Flash

Today in the produce section I saw a cute young mom pushing her two kids in one of those plastic grocery cart/kiddie cars. A 3 year old boy and a younger girl who was probably around 15 months old. They stopped near the cucumbers and the mom went around to the front of the cart, took out her phone, and snapped a picture of them.

It was just an ordinary weekday morning, but she captured them in that moment, the little girl and boy tugging at a board book between them, laughing.

It made me think about so many ordinary moments when my kids were little, and of the clunky camera I had back then. It had a long carry strap and used rolls of film. Pre-digital, I would ask myself, "Is this event important enough to use up half a roll of film?" and later at the drugstore, "Are the yet unseen pics on this roll worthy of ordering double prints?" It was a gamble, for sure. And the clunky camera wasn't always handy for the little moments of life.

When I finally got a digital camera, 5 years into this parenting gig, I was able to capture many more spontaneous moments of mothering. I didn't worry about wasting film. I could let the kids take hundreds of pictures of the dog and their other favorite subject: cantelope.

I tried to take a decent amount of photos and little videos, considering I was the youngest child in my family of origin and have three whole pictures to show for it. I even made sure to be in pictures with my kids every now and then, since although I know my wonderful mother existed in my childhood, it's kind of hard to prove.

It wasn't until what would be the last eight months of our family being intact that I got a smart phone, and therefore had a camera with me at all times. By the time Jack died, I still hadn't grown that used to taking pics with my phone, which, as the cheapest model with no flash, didn't take great ones anyway. But now, just 2 1/2 years later, we have more iphones and ipads in this house than we do people, and there is no shortage of selfies going on daily. Plenty of dog shots, too. Blurry or not, we are capturing moments-- the monumental and mundane-- more than ever. Here are a few of Margaret and Tim when we went out for Jack's 15th birthday 2 weeks ago:





When I saw that mom and her kids in the store today, I was envious. Yes, for her healthy little boy and girl grinning next to each other, but also that she had probably been capturing those simple, insignificant/significant moments for their entire lives by just whipping her phone out of her pocket. I'm not saying that grocery trips with Jack and Margaret back in the day would have necessarily been that pleasant, but I am now greedy for many more glimpses of them, of us, of those years before we knew what we now know-- how fleeting it all can be.

p.s. A friend sent me a new photo today of us at a family mission camp years ago. That's us on the right about to make a butterfly garden.

25 comments:

Arnebya said...

Ah, changes. I found a roll of film this past weekend and couldn't wait to unwind it and look at the negatives. I'm sure there are pictures from it somewhere. They were all blurry, though. And I agree about the third or last child. I am one, too. And I noticed my third has no printed photos. They all live on my phone and in the computer. I know the power of a long-forgotten or lost photo. I'm glad that one from years ago found its way to you. It's a wink from Jack.

LoriLeigh said...

Funny, My sister asked me for photos this morning. She left her home with her two kids two months ago and not until this morning when her boys said they need baby photos LIKE NOW did she realize she forgot the photos. I've been going through photos this morning on my computer. I realize that my photos are a mess, on many computers, in boxes, not labeled, dated. I always told myself I would take better care of these things. My brother was 12 when he died. I have 2 photos of him. My baby girl is 18 and soon to be going away. Needless to say for the past two hours I've been labeling, and dating photos... plus adding a few cute ones to Facebook, or sending them to people in emails. On a side note I'm thankful social media wasn't around when I was in high school.

Carla said...

I love the photo your friend shared with you. Seeing your young family of four shoots a pang to my heart. As a lover of photographs I try to share photos with people who are in them and it is always appreciated. Sometimes I struggle with the balance of living in the moment and recording the moment. But there's nothing like looking at old photographs to transport oneself. I have fond memories of my extended family pulling out my Grandma's picture box and passing photos around... Absolutely no organization to them at all and it made it all the more fun. Thanks for sharing, Anna.

macmac524 said...

Out of the zillions of blogs in the worldwide hemisphere, yours is one of the few I read without fail. This post is exactly the reason why. Your honesty and vulnerability is refreshing. I'm appreciative you've chosen to share your story and feelings with others.

Mrs Changstein said...

This brought tears to my eyes - I don't take as many pictures as I used to. Hard to match those gazillion in the first couple of years! ;) But I do have a 'wall of fame' for skinned knees, chipped teeth (yeah, why do we have those already when he's only 12??) and bruised chins. Plus, I always ask for the 'silly faces, please', because those seem to be when we have the most fun. Thank you Anna! Cindy

smilinjo said...

While I totally understand why you would feel this way, I tend to think that maybe you were lucky to not have such easy access to a camera because so many parents now are so busy trying to "capture a moment" that they are, in fact, missing it. Or they recreate it because the shot was blurry. You see so many parents watching their kids thru their camera lens instead of their own eyes. I don't know...I think it is a little sad and I bet when their kids are grown, while they will have the image that a certain moment happened, will they really and truly have the memory? Just my thoughts (and I am guilty of doing that as well with my kids but am trying to be better about just watching them). :)

Chi said...

I'm so grateful for digital photography and cloud backup of all my photos and video. It is such a treasure.

I'm glad you used your old school camera. You still captured some great moments.

Happy thoughts and prayers with you and your family, always.

God bless,

Chi

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I need to start taking pictures again... So great to see you today! xo

Loukia said...

I had a rough-ish start to the day today, but this post has me sobbing in my kitchen. It's the little things we have to remember to never, ever take for granted. Thank you for sharing this. xoxoxo Love to you always.

Gigi said...

I took many, many pictures of mine when he was small with my non-digital camera and spent who knows how much on getting the film developed. I look at all the technology available to moms today with a tiny drop of envy.

Jennifer Marshall said...

Huge lump in my throat. Love you, Anna. xoxo

Jamie Reese said...

Finding new photos is great, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Your mom really does sound wonderful. You've talked about the double loss of a parent and child before, and I can't imagine what that's like, but it must be hard. She sounds so warm and real, and like she knew what's really important in life.

Those are great pictures of Tim and Miss Margaret. She's a beautiful person, inside and out.

Nikki Frank-Hamilton said...

Seems like when they were little I took tons of photos, now that they at growing into young adult, 14 and 22, I realized after reading your post that I don't have many current pics. Thanks for the nudge, gotta get a few soon.
Don't you love when a memory finds you just when you need one? Xo

thejugglestruggle.net said...

Yes...the change to digital took away the "decision factor" for photos...thank God. I, too, remember having to pace myself about a finite amount of film. The flip side of this, though--at least for me--is that photos can get lost because of the infinite opportunities. They're jammed on my phone and I now need to weed through the umpteen attempts to capture whatever moment has caught my fancy...but they are there, and that is reassuring. Last year I made a bonehead move with my phone that I believed cost me all of my photos that I hadn't yet uploaded. My husband found a method to retrieve them that even the customer service people couldn't, bless his heart. The emotional roller coaster of that was tough. I am grateful that we live in such an easy age of chronicling. Even if it means we have to put up with the world of selfie over-sharing. Better over than under, I say.

Alison said...

Tears, Anna. Tears.
Thank you for reminding us to capture and treasure all the little moments. Love you. xo

Anonymous said...

As a third child, I totally get it. I thought I was adopted at one point because there were almost zero photos of me as a baby/kid. That is when my mom whipped out the 'slide projector'. Remember those? Seems most of my history were on those old slides!! 1970. I also felt like I always was in a photo with 'the other two'. My own mother used to take a pair of scissors and cut herself out of photos because she hated the way she looked:). I did inherit that complete lack of photogenicity but I am determined to be different--ha! Thanks for giving me inspiration to take some snaps. I am notorious for forgetting. Hugs, NovA mom Jen

Peg said...

lovely post.

Salvimom said...

Dearest Anna,

This post hit home. I too, wish I could've taken more pics of my children when they were little/infants. Fact is, I had very limited resources (and no smartphone at the time)and a crazy relationship/lifestyle and was not able to do so at that time. The pics I did take were thrown away (along with most of my childhood momentos) by a negative ex-spouse when I did not return to aforementioned crazy relationship. When that happened I cried and cried. Then I thought about Jesus, and the words he told us, basically to leave it all behind and follow him. It was the only thing that brought me peace. At any rate, I am sort of a picaholic now. Thanks for writing this, as I am able to relate these feelings. Sending hugs and love.

Ury

Geri said...

"but I am now greedy for many more glimpses of them.."
Ah yes. A niece sent me a picture of our son with two of his cousins that I had never seen before just this week. I felt like I had won the lottery. I'm greedy for more glimpses of life before too.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

My children were born long before yours and we took even less photos and it's hard to find my mom in photos with them or any photos for that matter. She passed away 32 years ago and now I try to get into pictures although I'm still pretty good at forgetting to do that! Being envious is understandable and I wish it didn't have to be that way.
((HUGS))

anymommy said...

I don't think I've touched my camera in two months. Breathe, Stacey, Breathe. (This was beautiful.)

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I am normal. I can't look at my daughter's photos. It's just too painful to be reminded of so many good times and now I don't have her. I don't know if you feel the same way.

Andrea Mowery said...

We used to take hundreds of pictures of the kids, and have albums to show for it. These days they just take pictures of themselves and I have photos stored in places I have forgotten about. I don't know what the future holds for all of our photos. I don't know if it's better to have lots and not know where they are or to just cherish the few you have.

Elaine Alguire said...

My boys have disposable cameras from their zoo camp LAST summer that I have yet to develop. I'm like, "Do people even do that anymore?" I know, bad. They will probably go to zoo camp THIS coming summer and I still will have done nothing with those cameras...

I adore that photos at the end and the spontaneous moments captured by Tim and Margaret. And now you've reminded me to cherish my 18 bazillion Instagram photos of my kids even more, Anna.

xo