I’m always taking pictures and videos of my kids. In fact, at this rate, I don’t really need the scrapbooks I bought but still haven’t put together, because my phone has their entire lives captured—the good, the cute, and the ugly (filming the tantrum is fun sometimes, no?).
I just want to capture it all. Save it. Savor it.
I often think they will love watching themselves live their lives one day.
One day, they will want to know how they were when they were little. One day they will need some candid footage for their wedding videos, or graduation slideshows.
I will have all the candid moments ready for them. I will be the mom driving the photographer crazy with the thousands of photos I’d like to use.
“But she is just so cute here trying broccoli for the first time. We HAVE to use this photo!”
I can hear myself now.
I also take videos and pictures of them playing together, reading books, and roughhousing with their dad. There are lots of videos of them with their dad. Sweet pictures of kisses, experiences, and tender moments I make sure to capture.
But me? Well, I’m just the voice. I’m the narrator of the video. I’m the one making the face or smiling big or saying the thing that makes them do the thing I need to catch on camera.
Why am I only the voice? It’s not because my husband doesn’t try. He does! But I love to say, No let me video it! Or, No I’m not dressed today! Or, Gosh I look horrible, don’t get me in the shot!
I do this because somehow, I’ve let the emphasis of capturing the picture or video to transform from catching a precious moment to portraying a precious moment perfectly.
Somehow, I’ve let social media make me feel like I’m unworthy of being in front of the camera unless I can live up to some idealized image of what I think I am supposed to look like in those moments.
I can assure you the candid, special moments don’t happen when I’m perfect. Nope!
I’m usually in yoga pants, with air-dried hair, and no makeup to hide my tired eyes.
So no, I don’t want to be in the video.
No, don’t show me on camera.
Let me be the one BEHIND the camera. I’m safe there.
Recently, a friend sent an old video she had found of my mom when she was about my age. She was playing in a parents’ basketball game with her friends. She was young and thin and super cute as she bounced down the court in her biker shorts and t-shirt. Her hair was in a ponytail, she didn’t look like she had any make-up on, and she was laughing. She was having so much fun!
My mom wasn’t trying to be perfect. She probably didn’t even know she was being filmed. She was just being involved with her kids, participating in our lives, being in the moment with her friends, and enjoying life.
I watched the video over and over. It was only a minute long. A small clip of a not-so-important day, but I watched it again and again because I loved seeing my mom like that.
She was cheerful, free, energized, and not giving a damn about how she looked on camera. She looked happy, and it made me feel happy to see her happy in that moment in time.
Seeing that video made me realize how much my kids will one day want to see me, too. They will want to see me from before they really remember me. They will want to watch me hold them and make funny faces. They will want to see me as I rock them and feed them their dinner. They will pay attention to how I move and smile and if I seem happy around them.
They will want to see me because they won’t remember me in these moments. If they hear my voice speaking behind the camera, they will yearn to see me. My unwashed hair and no-makeup face won’t matter to them if I seem happy.
I am happy. So they deserve to have the preserved proof of that bliss.
I’ve decided it’s time to stop caring. It is time to stop pushing the phone out of my face when my husband tries to capture the moments. I need to stop redoing the picture to show “my better side”. Or posting up in picture position, instead of just smiling as I am.
It’s time to remember to just be in the moment because that is all the picture and videos are trying to capture in the first place. It’s time to know that it’s not how I look that my children will notice first, but how I delight in them that will bring them joy.
It’s time to let go and let love shine through. It already does in my heart, my pictures should let the world know.
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