I'm a chronic photo-taker. Can't help it. I appreciate beauty. Life. Seeing the transcendental in the mundane. Candidness. Realness.
It drives my family in.sane. "Darlene, put the camera down and back away slowly."
I tell myself that one day we will watch the home videos of them walking, talking, dancing, singing, etc... and cry with happiness that we have these small slivers of time preserved.
Deep down a voice speaks that I don't really care for. It's generally just a whisper - very polite - never shouts at me like I probably deserve. But it asks me... while you're behind the camera, you're just WATCHING life happen. You're not actually living it.
Woah. I did not ask for unsolicited philosophical statements today.
And I really hate admitting I'm wrong. Misguided. That I'm a DIY project.
Yesterday, at the park. I resolved to not take my camera. Might as well left my right arm at home, too. But, here's what I did instead:
I looked my children in the eye. Do you know how important that is? And how often we neglect to do that? Acknowledgement. Validation. YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO ME. I listened to their jokes. Their inquiries about their world. Their fears. Their hurts. I LISTENED because I was present. In their life. At that moment.
I participated, rather than spectated. I was a playmate. Not a parent. Not someone cheering from the sidelines. I slid the slides. I walked the trails. I played tennis. I let them know that I can let my hair down and be "one of the kids" - and they ATE IT UP! Four books on my nightstand that I could have taken to read while they played, but no. Not today. A to-do list a mile long. Not today.
I learned so much about my children. They look out for each other when I'm not around. Isa told several older kids to "watch out for the baby!!" Rhyse took Isa a leaf that he found and thought she would like. They hugged it out after a squabble. The look of pure joy when Isa discovered a new skill. Coulda missed all of that...
Moral of the story - we are busy. We have a lot on our plates and even more stress to finish it all. We forget the little people sometimes need us to stop. drop. and listen. Be a participator, not just a spectator. It's gone in a flash and all the important things...the busyness that consumes us... really aren't that important after all.
Put down the camera. The phone. The computer. Whatever BUFFER you have between you and your reality.
Life is so fleeting. It is a vapor. And in our humanness, we try to hang on to every second, as if the pictures and videos will somehow stop time. It won't. It only gives us the illusion of more time, of looking into the past as if it were the present. I resolve to redeem the time I do have with my kids. My family.
Now, if you will excuse me, it's time for a pillow fight.