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.