Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Photography & Parenting: Fleeting Moments

Taking pictures of the people and places I love the most is one of my absolute favorite things. I have a camera with me everywhere searching for a moment to capture like a football player waiting for the word 'hike.'

This picture is a beautiful moment between my three sons- my favorite kind of moment to trap in time. It was unseasonably warm today, November 29th, so we took our ball pit maze into the three seasons room to have at it!

There is an interesting connection between picture taking and parenting- how fleeting moments are.

In photography, if you miss a perfect photo by a fraction of a second it can be, for lack of a better word, ruined- sudden movement can make a picture blurry, smiles turn into frowns, people look away or step out of the shot, a person walks in front of a building, and the sun disappears into the horizon. I have an infinite amount of almost perfect pictures :)

In parenting, time can seem to pass by as quickly as that tiny window for a perfect photograph. I'm sitting here watching two 3.5 year olds and a 1.5 year old play... How can that be?!? I still feel like I just brought them all home from the hospital. Instead, the truth is that Nolan rarely asks me to carry him. Judah often makes a stink if I start to dress him ("I do it all by myself") and Carter hardly ever crawls anymore. I will blink and they'll be graduating from high school.

The other fleeting thing about parenting is how quickly "good" moments can turn into "bad" ones. How quickly everyone can seem content and then one toy gets taken from someone, or one person trips over their own feet and falls, or someone becomes cold in the bathtub; it's game over.

The reverse can happen too, which brings me to this photo. Not very many moments before this photo was taken, I was disappointed and frustrated as Nolan and Judah had destroyed the basement (playing beautifully together) but then refused to help pick anything up. I unraveled- raised my voice, stomped around, and got dramatic and theatrical as I put a bunch of their toys way high up and out of reach while saying out loud, "goodby toys." I gave them a 'time out' from toys.

They wanted to say sorry and move on, but today, for me, that wasn't enough.  We talked about the difference between saying sorry and showing we are sorry and I asked them some prompting questions about how they could SHOW they were sorry and left the kitchen to get this ball pit maze thing set up so Carter, who did help clean up, could play. There were tears for sure and it appeared my boys would be toyless (as I now needed to follow through) and I was dreading how the rest of the day would go. I didn't handle that well, kindly, or productive and I knew it, but I couldn't go back now.  I guess parenting has its own fleeting moments too, now that I think about it, something seems like a great idea, you say it out loud, and then you're stuck with it.  I digress...

As Carter played, I saw Judah out of the corner of my eye begin putting toys away in our TV room. Moments later Nolan followed suit. Nolan specifically asked me not to help. They apologized to me, I apologized to them. We reflected on their behavior, both the good and the bad, and the consequences, both the good and the bad, that came from their choices. I thanked them for their kindness. Then, we played.

It took some bad decisions and a few good ones to end up in a place where I even had the opportunity to capture this moment.

Good and bad,  joys and sorrows, positive and negative, seemingly perfect and very obviously unperfect pass in and out of this parenting thing. I'm thankful I think like a photographer so I can capture it, remember it, freeze it... All of it.... As best as I can.

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