Memories, Simplified

capturing simple moments, then storing the rest in memory

The kids played at our neighborhood playground, while I read from a nearby bench. A grandma (I gleaned this from the kids calling her "grandma") observed from the other park bench.

Brylee ran around with the two older kids, while Ian contentedly played in the sand "making a pie" like his sister taught him to do. The youngest of the three, Carolina who was about Ian's age, wandered near where he excitedly held out a handful of dirt for her. A 2-year-old's etiquette at it's finest.

The grandma and I both chuckled from our benches at the sweet and simple exchange of these two innocent babes. (Innocent for the moment--Ian is usually an instigator.)

Then, I hear the grandma exclaim, "Ah, I wish I had my camera!"

A few simple words that I used to proclaim more than I care to admit, now make me cringe.

I'd say it whenever something sweet or funny happened. Anytime we enjoyed pretty scenery or a special moment with special people. Whenever Brylee did something cute, or something too good to be true that I needed evidence.

Gotta applaud the heart behind it. We have amazing digital cameras these days that quickly and easily capture a moment, so now we want to capture every moment. Because we can.

Now, I'd rather be in the moment.

I'd rather experience it with all my senses--sight, touch, taste, smell, sound--rather than through a camera lense figuring out how to capture it in a way to do the moment justice.

It's sometimes fun to try. It's fun to snap a quick picture and instantly share it online where my mom can get her grandkid fix states away. It's fun to have photos of our family outside and at home and with friends and each other--just a sampling of daily life as it is in the good ol' days.

Plus, improving phone cameras and fun filters make capturing the moment so much more artsy and gratifying. Even for us non-photographers.

But as with most areas in our life that need simplified, it's worth asking: How much is enough? More appropriately: Have we crossed over the memory card capacity into too much?

As with household items and wardrobes, we all likely have a different idea of an answer. And that's okay. I read someone's suggestion for saving around 10 photos per year for each person, and I was on board. Until I got into Instagram, or Lomogram now that I have a Windows phone. Now I'm more likely to capture and post at least 10 a month.

Still, the principles that initially struck me in that 10-photo/year idea (read about it here) have stayed with me.

Sure, I take and share quite a bit more than that. But I no longer kick myself for not having my camera. Or, now that I'm often using my phone as my camera, I no longer kick myself for not taking every picture. Or not sharing every picture I've taken. I try to only keep, post, and preserve the good ones.

Because taking a million photos of my growing kids has not helped me never forget a single moment. In fact, it's actually overwhelming often leading me to miss the moment in my efforts to preserve it.

I'm thankful to have handy lil point-and-shoot cameras that take quality photos. I'm thankful to have social media for quick and easy ways to share with all our family and friends (and the whole world-wide-web while we're being honest). I'm also thankful to put the camera away and take a moment to just be.

To lock the feel of my kids' smooth hands and cheeks in my mind. To twirl Brylee's curls in my fingers. Hearing their voices through sweet songs and prayers and laughter. Observing how they play and what they like and what they don't.

Because while I could take every picture, record every video, write down every memory and fill out hundreds of questionnaires to remember all the details of their little selves, the only person it really matters to is me. And them. And maybe Grandma. And for all those details, pictures, videos, and questionnaires just aren't enough.

Those specifics are best captured in person and stored in my God-given memory.

Where we both remember we were together in those moments, and that's what matters.

Everything else is just a sampling to remember that fact.


This month I'm sharing Simplicity, Simplified. See full list of posts here, and join me for another couple weeks in not over-thinking it.