It was one of those days.
You know, the days when exhaustion sets in hours before the kids’ bedtimes, and you’re literally just counting down the minutes like some middle-aged Cinderella waiting for the clock to strike?
Yeah, one of THOSE days.
I had just gotten the kids down for the night and flopped myself onto the couch, knowing full well there was only a 50/50 chance I would get up again. I lay there for just a few moments before grabbing my phone to check the time (OK, OK to mindlessly scroll through Instagram).
But instead of opening the app, I opened my camera roll.
I don’t know why. Maybe it was mom brain, or perhaps it was that feeling you get when your kids are finally asleep, and you just want to look at their pictures because you kind of miss them (even though an hour ago you were seriously contemplating buying a one-way ticket to Mexico).
I was scrolling through the most recent photos when I swiped just a little too hard, bringing up all my photos from 2017—the year my daughter was born. Photos at the hospital. Photos of our son holding her for the first time. Photos of her first bath. Photos of her first Christmas. Photos of her first smile. Photos of her sleeping. Photos of her sleeping on me. Photos of her sleeping on my husband. So yes, clearly a lot of photos of her doing absolutely nothing, but still—memories.
After about a hundred photos, I finally stumbled across a video.
She was about a month old, fresh out of the bath and wrapped in a white hooded towel. Her head rested softly under the hood, with only her sweet little face and tiny clenched fists visible. I pressed play and watched as she sleepily blinked, tightly grasping the towel in her fist. She suckled it with nasally breath, softly clicking her tongue. I watched her subtly startle as her brother’s tiny toddler voice boomed in the background. Then she settled back in, not once taking her eyes off me.
For nine seconds, I was transported back in time . . . and I needed more. I frantically scrolled, looking for another video, but my heart began to sink as I realized they were few and far between—secretly tucked between weeks, even months of photos.
“Maybe this is just a first kid versus second kid thing! I mean, surely I took more videos of our son,” I thought to myself. I scrolled back a couple of years earlier, and my heart sank even further as I realized this was true for my entire camera roll—from 2015 when our first baby was born, all the way up until today.
I don’t know why I rarely take videos. Maybe it’s the millennial in me. Maybe it’s quicker. Maybe it’s because I convince myself I’ll actually print the photos (lies) and want options to choose from. Maybe it’s just me.
I really don’t know, but if I could tell a new mama just one thing, it would be this: Take videos.
Take videos every day. Take videos of the ordinary. Take videos of both the things that don’t seem to matter and the things you think you’ll never forget.
Take videos of the details.
The way her little fingers grasp yours.
The way his cheeks somehow get even chubbier when he smiles.
The way she coos when she sees her daddy’s face.
The way he flails his arms and legs when he hears your voice.
The way she looks up at you when she nurses.
The way his eyebrows furrow when he’s hungry.
The way her eyelashes flutter against her cheeks when she sleeps.
Whether they’re five seconds or five minutes.
They say that time slips through our hands like grains of sand, and it’s true—but videos are like getting to save a precious grain or two.
Of course, there’s something to be said for living in the moment, for living life in front of the camera rather than behind it. And while I whole-heartedly believe that, all I’m saying is that if you’re going to take a picture, take a video too because in just a few short years I bet you’d be willing to trade a hundred pictures for just one more video.
My kids are four and six years old now, and while I mourn the fact I won’t have videos from their babyhood, it’s not lost on me that in just a few short years, I’ll still be giving myself this same advice. So today, I took my first video in weeks—it wasn’t anything special, just my son pouring himself a handful of goldfish crackers and then sweetly begging me for more. Ordinary, everyday life . . . for now.
Because that’s the funny thing about ordinary, it doesn’t stay ordinary for long.