There is a lot that has been done and is being done to prepare for the arrival of the babies. One of those things has been the conversion of my Red Room to a nursery…and since a jarring red color didn’t seem to be very soothing to anyone but me, I assumed it wouldn’t be for babies either. Thankfully, my Dad and brother helped immensely by painting the room while The Mister took on other projects (fixing the door molding, building cribs, etc.) since I couldn’t really do it. It wasn’t an easy task and one day when they were both over, my brother seemed rather angry with me.
“Why aren’t you taking pictures of this?” he asked as I was outside on a relatively nice day with Brooklyn the Dog and Amy the Dog so they wouldn’t be in the house making a mess as things were being built.
“Taking pictures of what?” I asked. I honestly had no idea what he was talking about.
“All of this. Me and dad painting. [The Mister] building things. These are memories!” He sighed. “You don’t know how to capture the moment.”
That picture of me when I was a toddler explains my reaction.
I started laughing. I have been accused of a great many atrocities in my lifetime, but failing to capture the moment adequately was never one of them. He then went into a description of pictures I should be taking. Them painting. The Mister building furniture from Ikea. I just made a joke of it and moved on.
Now, in all fairness, he has some semblance of a point. I am not a big picture taker. Even when I go to new exotic (or not so exotic) places, I rarely take pictures. At least with a camera. Sometimes I regret it. Most of the time I don’t. Pictures are great and all, but what I really care about are the memories in my mind.
I think The Mister first learned of this inclination when we started traveling together. He’d be taking pictures of all kinds of things and I’d be ready to move on. It’s been a source of contention from time to time in our travels. I just don’t care to get a ton of pictures. So sue me.
I realized this when I studied abroad in France. While there, I took a great number of pictures, but most of them were of very particular things. I took a TON of pictures of the beaches of Normandy for my grandfather who fought in World War II in the Pacific, but was interested in all things military. I took a few pictures in Paris. But mostly, I relied on my memory to capture them. I wasn’t interested in capturing the moment through a lens other than my own. The important things that happened to me on that trip weren’t the ones that could be captured photographically anyhow.
I’m sure this will change when I have kids. I’ll probably take tons of pictures of them. Most of my photos on my phone are of the cats or the dog as it is.
Like that photo of Brooklyn laying in what was the Red Room and will be the babies’ room that I took because I thought it was funny. They make interesting photo subjects to me. But, in large part, my brother is right. I don’t “capture the moment.” At least not in the way he would have me do so.
Here’s how I capture the moment: I take a deep breath and remember the feeling.
I remember the feeling of sitting on a bench near the bay in France, thinking how odd it was to not have any place that I had to be.
I remember the smell of the Paris Metro. How could you forget that horrid stench?
I remember The Mister shaking his head on our first trip to Las Vegas when I begged him to take this flight over the Grand Canyon and then promptly fell asleep on it.
I remember hitting the water at the bottom of a cliff in Jamaica and thinking “I just did something I never thought I would do.”
I remember wrapping my Nana’s sweater around me the night she died, unable to take it off even though I was far too warm to wear it.
I remember the first ultrasound where I saw these soon-to-be babies move and laughing when the one raised its tiny fist at the screen. “That’s my kid,” I thought.
And despite what my brother thinks, I remember being unable to think of a way to express my appreciation to my dad and brother for helping with the nursery. Despite having no pictures of them physically painting it.
See, to me, the memories I need to capture cannot be captured by any traditional method. Pictures do not do them justice. In fact, in some weird way, pictures cheapen the experience. They cannot capture my emotion over something if I’m so worried about taking a picture that I escape the emotion all together. Usually when I take pictures, I’m doing it for someone else…like this picture from a few weeks ago showing the amazing parallel parking job I did with the minivan for the first time.
I’m not doing it for myself. And if I’m worried about capturing the moment, then I have to think about how I’d best like to capture it.
My problem isn’t that I don’t know how to capture the moment. The problem is that people don’t understand my way of doing so. And, really, that’s not my problem at all. I’m completely fine with how I remember things. I capture the moment. I just don’t do it in a traditional way. In the end, I hope my children develop the ability to do the same thing. The moment we want to capture is only as good as the amount of life we put into it. Beyond that, it’s just a picture we cannot remember why we took in the first place. Either that or it’s a picture we’ve taken to prove something to someone. And I don’t need any proof that I have lived my life. Pictures are fine, but the absence of them doesn’t mean I’ve failed somehow.
I’ll take the memory any day.