As we’ve met up with friends and acquaintances through the course of our return to normal life this week, one of the common questions that we’ve asked to each other is ‘how were your holidays?’ Whilst replying in the affirmative, I suddenly realised that this year we had taken absolutely no photos on Christmas Day or New Years Eve. This realisation was met with mixed reactions. On one hand, I was happy that we were obviously having such a lovely time that we forgot to record it all for posterity’s sake but on the other hand, I was a little sad that I won’t be able to look back at photo’s from this Christmas in years to come.
When I was much younger, I went through a phase of habitually going to the cupboard where my Mum stored all her photo albums and leafing through them all. I loved looking at old photo’s of us all as babies, snapshots of special birthdays and holidays, forever remembered in print. Obviously, this was before the age of digital and developing a film wasn’t cheap so the moments that had been captured were ones that my parents conciously chose to remember. Somehow, this made them even more precious. Now that we can take a thousand photos on our smartphones with ease and online printing services means that you can print them off for pennies, I suspect we are a litlte less discerning with what we choose to snap.
When Sophia was smaller I was a little obsessed with getting pictures of her all the time. I didn’t want to miss the chance to make a record of anything. Then I realised that living life behind the lens wasn’t as rewarding as putting my phone or camera down and living in the moment itself. I’m pretty sure the kids would rather remember me getting involved rather than standing on the sidelines, trying to get the perfect shot.
Consequently, now I’m trying to tread the fine line between making sure I do have pictures for when I’m old and grey and the kids are no longer small bundles of excitable energy, and being glued to my phone for fear of missing a candid moment. At the end of the day, I know that nothing will truly capture the heart meltingly cute gaze of a toddler or the hilarity that older kids often cause with their amazing facial expressions. I’ll have to rely on remembering how those moments felt, even if I can’t relive them.
So whilst I was a little sad about not taking any pictures over the festive period this year, I soon got over it and realised that in 40 years time, all the Christmases will blur into one and it won’t be a big deal if my photo albums are missing the odd one or two. I will certainly make sure I have some tangible memories in the form of pictures and precious saved relics of their childhood but I suspect it will be the intangible memories that are the most special to me in the end.