The year was 2008. I was seven months pregnant with our fourth daughter and we were on our “Babymoon”. My husband and I spent three magical days in Cozumel at a little bed and breakfast. We rented a jeep and explored the island. I photographed everything. I would share pictures with you in this blog post, because that’s what Mommy Bloggers do, but I can’t.
One particular afternoon sticks out. We had taken a drive on the less inhabited coast of the island, found a secluded beach, and my husband took some impromptu maternity pictures of me on the rocks. They were gorgeous. I’m talking tweet worthy, like worthy, share worthy, pin worthy, Insta-awesome shots. I couldn’t wait to get home and print out these pictures, but more than that.
I couldn’t wait to share our vacation pictures with friends and family, especially on social media.
On our fifth day of vacation, now in the Riviera Maya, we lost our camera. Somewhere between the tour bus and the ruins of Tulum, poof it was gone. The devastation I felt cannot be described. I was inconsolable and at one point told my husband I wanted to fly home early. Friends who had joined us on the second portion of our trip pretty much thought I was bananas. Eventually, I bought some disposable cameras and decided staying in the tropics with the love of my life and two good friends wasn’t so bad.
After we got home I realized something.
I had been more concerned with the images being captured through the lens of that digital camera, than enjoying and (fully) experiencing the present moment.
I was too busy picturing which caption would go with which shot, and how I would crop this image or that. I wasted an entire day of our vacation mourning the loss of digital images. Pathetic. The memories of each wonderful aspect of our trip were not as vivid as they could have been, because I was not living in the moment. I was more concerned with photographing and cataloging each event than I was actually enjoying it. I felt like crap and learned a lesson. I attempted to be more mindful of the “life” happening all around me, right in front of me, RIGHT NOW. There must be a way to balance documenting life with LIVING life.
Fast forward a couple years. We had four daughters and oh boy were they cute. I loved dressing them in matching or coordinating outfits, especially during the holidays and for family photos. Soccer games, dance recitals, holiday concerts and school plays all had one thing in common: I had a camera in my hand.
I had to have the best seat, had to get the best shot. One day, while attempting to video daughter number one’s choir concert, I noticed that the LCD screen on the back of my camera was tiny. My eyes were glued to it, focused on it, on capturing the moment, the song, yet when I concentrated hard on properly filming said moment, I wasn’t able to focus on trying to pick out my daughter’s voice, or enjoy the melody, or hear the words, or revel in the lovely harmony.
I had fallen back into the trap of living life through the lens.
As mothers in this digital age, and as mommy bloggers especially, (also as a hard core former scrap-booker…), we are at risk of falling pray to the traps of experiencing life from behind a camera instead of in the now. I like to think that I have made strides in this area, but will still catch myself planning a caption instead of smiling sweetly. So ladies, and I am preaching to the choir here, as this holiday season winds up, please remember to live in the present, and soak in every ounce of each amazing moment with your families.