The other night while I was in bed, scrolling through my iPhone’s camera roll, I had a realization: there has not been a single unposed photo of me with my son taken during the six months he’s been on this earth.
No candid shots while I’m blowing him a kiss, or sitting on the floor playing with him, or laying on the couch snuggled up. Zero. There were a couple of random selfies and posed portrait-style shots, but nothing that captured the true heart and soul of our relationship together.
I felt a tinge of disappointment for him, because surely there were more photos taken of me with his older sister. Poor, second child … always forgotten. So I kept scrolling through my phone, deeper and deeper into the archives, and started realizing that I actually had very few candid photos of me with my daughter either. There were some from when she was a tiny baby, but very few since and it made me a bit sad. There were a lot of candids of my kids with my husband and grandparents and friends, but none with me, their Mama.
I’m sure many parents can attest to a similar plight … especially moms since we’re usually the ones taking the photos and documenting the moments. When we do get photos with our kids, they’re usually posed and often end up feeling forced … at least that’s how it feels for me. It’s great having all of these wonderful photos of our children, but a little disappointing to never have any that capture us with our little ones and that tell the real story of our interactions with them.
As I continued to dig through old photos, I stumbled upon a small handful (out of slightly less than 7,000) that truly captured simple moments between me and my daughter. These photos instantly jogged my memory and pulled me back in. Suddenly I could remember where I was and all of the sights and sounds and smells. Those few photos created a visceral response within me and they were priceless … truly gifts.
These few photos are a real slice of my life with my kids, the slice I want to remember. One of my most favorite photos of me and my daughter is one that a friend took of us when we weren’t watching. It captures a moment of motherhood that could never be posed and I cherish it so.
And this photo got me thinking …
I have this sweet friend who ever since my almost-three-year-old daughter was a wee babe, has always found a way to sneak photos of me with my children when we have a play date. It doesn’t happen every time we all get together, but often enough that it’s notable. She’ll sneak a quick shot of me kissing my baby on the head or laughing with my big girl. Later she’ll text me the photos and they’re always so sweet. I’m not sure that this friend actually considers these little snaps to be a “gift” … it’s just something she does naturally; something that might seem so simple to her, but is incredibly meaningful to me and her other friends.
So, this year I’ve decided that I’m going to be taking a cue from my friend and giving the gift of capturing motherhood to my friends … not just during the holidays, but throughout the year. I’m going to be sneaking photos of my friends and their kids. Maybe not every time we see each other, but often enough that it will be notable. I will text them the photos later with words of encouragement or inspiring quotes to remind them that they are more than the loud voice raised during the grocery store meltdown, or the snappy response while they were cooking dinner. I want to remind them that they are good parents and that others see it too.
It’s a gift that is free and simple, but oh so meaningful.More On