Monday, March 7, 2011

take a picture; it'll last longer

I will readily admit that I'm terrible at taking pictures. I'm a bit better at taking pictures of the twins than of other people and phases in my life, but ...well, not much. When we're with other people, I tend to be reminded to pull out my camera after other folks have already been snapping pictures for a while. (And shamelessly mooch their pictures later!) Even when something cool is going on, it just rarely strikes me to pull out a camera to capture it.

Part of it is that I'm scattered. I just am. I do well to remember my own name sometimes, let alone to snap a bunch of photos when I'm trying to keep track of two zoomy little toddlers.

But part of it, I think, is that it's just not that rewarding to take pictures. It's not positively reinforcing, to put it behaviorally. I can't take pictures of the things I really want to remember, the things I enjoy most. Like the way I can turn an anguished cry of "Boo-boo!" into a satisfied sigh with a simple kiss--dozens of times a day. And the willingness with which two tiny hands grab my fingers at my command, ready to follow me anywhere. The way it feels when Lily finally settles before her nap, nuzzling into my neck while I run my fingers through her hair. The way I can tell from across the house what my kids are doing (and whether they shouldn't be). The satisfaction in Noah's face when I've finally figured out what "Da!" means in a particular situation, after he's repeated himself 20 times.

They told me to make sure I had a good photographer at our wedding, because after a while that's all you remember--just what's in the pictures. And it's true, really. Two weeks after the event, I couldn't remember what song I had picked for the end of the ceremony--and I had agonized over it for months. My memories now run like a flipbook that mysteriously resembles the wedding album on the bookshelf.

But there is no good photographer here, and even if there were it wouldn't matter. There's just no way to capture the things I want to hold onto forever. Even the things I do remember will become grainy and distorted with time. It makes me a bit sad, like I'm constantly saying goodbye to two tiny people as they constantly get replaced by two slightly less-tiny people. And I know I will love the next stage as much as I have loved this one, and the stages before it, and even my life before them. I think I just have this impossible wish to hold onto everything wonderful my life has ever held, and never let anything go.

1 comment:

gina3 said...

Journal. That's it. You write it down. You're doing that with this blog. There are places that publish blog contents in book form for you. That will be a keeper! Blogs didn't exist when my son was little (or at least I didn't know about them) but I wrote in his baby book way more than I took pictures and my parents did the same. It's so great to go and read it and remember.