Last summer, our family visited Oak Island, North Carolina for the first time. We spent a glorious week swimming in the ocean, basking in the warm sun and keeping an eye out for the baby sea turtles, which were due to hatch at any moment. We unplugged, relaxed and lost ourselves in each other’s company.
It wasn’t until we got home that I realized how few pictures I took. I was too busy enjoying every second of it to be concerned with capturing the moment.
Rather than looking at my children through my phone’s screen, I truly saw them. Instead of trying to pose them and worrying about the right lighting, I was actively engaged in what they were doing.
But now that we are in the middle of a long, cold winter and the sound of the waves crashing has faded from my memories, I wonder if I should have taken more pictures. Will I forget those lazy, summer days if I can’t scroll through my phone and bring up pictures of everything we did?
Which one is better in the long run: capturing or living in the moment? And which one is better for you and your family?
Living in the moment lets you be fully present
Have you ever gone out and forgotten to bring your phone? On one hand, it is blissful, right? No distractions and no notifications pinging at you. Nothing to remind you that you have emails to read and text messages that are waiting for a response.
You can focus one hundred percent and truly listen to your children’s stories. It is a sweet, but usually fleeting opportunity to see their view of the world.
On the rare occasions when this happens to me, I realize how good it feels and think that I should do this more often. What if I was always fully present when I was with my kids?
I could put away the phone and forget about trying to capture the moment for Facebook or Instagram. Instead of worrying about social media, I could try to engrave the moment as a picture in my head.
Will you forget if you don’t capture the moment?
But I’ll be honest – my memory stinks. I can barely remember what I had for breakfast today, let alone the cute little outfit my daughter wore when she was three or the sideways smirk my youngest used to bestow upon me.
Motherhood can be a blur. The days are long and exhausting. Our brains are filled to capacity with trying to remember all the little details to keep these darlings alive. And unfortunately, sometimes we forget the precious moments that we have experienced along the way.
I”m so thankful that my parents have stacks of photo albums. They are jam packed with pictures of my sister and I growing up. Every birthday and vacation is recorded. There are pictures of childhood pets, school events and even our favorite toys.
Truthfully, it’s fun to go through them and ask my mom about the pictures. She would probably never spontaneously bring up the snowy day in 1984 that we built an eight foot tall snowman, but the picture sparked the memory and made a fun story to talk about and remember. Many of these moments would be forgotten without the pictures.
Do you have to pick capturing or living in the moment?
And that is why I think you should take at least a few pictures. You can record the moment and have something to fondly look back at. Years from now, this will help spark the memories and movies in your mind,
If you normally look at your Facebook memories, you probably understand exactly what I mean. Almost every day, I check it out and relive the moments from years ago.
I marvel over how little and adorable my children once were. I remember trips that we took, things my children said and time spent with friends and family. Every day, this gives me a happy feeling of nostalgia and helps me remember snapshots of my life.
But keep in mind, there is a difference between taking pictures for yourself and taking pictures for other people on social media. Your kids don’t need to be posed and sit impatiently while you take fifty different pictures trying to find the perfect one.
This is more about capturing the imperfect moments, the real life moments. Not the picture perfect life that we often display on social media, but the messy, chaotic, beautiful, real life that we are living. THIS is what you want to look back at in ten years.
So do you try capturing or living in the moment? Who says you have to choose one? Why not do both?
Snap a few pictures so twenty years from now, you can fondly remember that day. Then, put down the phone or the camera and go enjoy the moment. Fully immerse yourself, let your senses take over and help your kids form their own precious memories of that day.
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