I have thousands of pictures on my computer; vacations, school plays, birthday parties. I’m not in 95% of them. I think that’s a reality for a lot of moms, and I’ve accepted my role as the designated family photographer. But I started to notice something else; I had no clue what was happening in some of the photos. I sat there looking at a random picture; my kids were laughing, we were outside in a park but I couldn’t remember what was going on. It wasn’t an old picture, but I was too focused on getting the shot that I wasn’t fully present. I had the moment captured, it was right in front of me. But I didn’t have the memory.
In so many ways, I think we just need to slow down. I was so determined to get a good shot that, in a way, I disappeared. I’m not only missing from the picture, but I’m missing from the experience. I wanted to work on changing that.
We recently went on a family vacation to Disney World. We’ve been there before and I knew that I am typically a photo nut on vacations – coming home with a thousand pictures after a week. This time, I made an effort to put the camera down. I didn’t carry my big, fancy camera the whole time. Instead, I let the professionals take care of it. Disney has photographers scattered throughout the parks who will gladly take your picture, with their camera and yours. I purchased all of their pictures and not only did we get some great shots (and I was in all of them!) but we got some great memories because I wasn’t watching my kid’s vacation through a 2.5” screen. It was worth every penny spent. I came home with a fraction of the pictures, but so many more vivid memories.
I might have thousands of moments captured over the years, but I don’t have all of the memories. I can’t get those back. In so many ways, I think we all just need to slow down and enjoy life. For me, that meant putting down the camera once in a while. I need to experience what my kids experience instead of seeing it through the lens. I need to let them play and not stand still while I take “just one more picture.” I need to give up control and actually be in the picture sometimes. What do you need to do to be more present in your life? Today is a good day to find out.