Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm sorry can you repeat that... or better yet can I have a do-over?

Why is it that we think we’re being bad parents if we don’t scrapbook? When I ask if someone scrapbooks, often times the response I hear is this: ‘I wish I did, I’m such a bad mom. I just am not that creative. My poor kids.’ Really? REALLY? This answer astounds me. I cannot for the life of me understand. Since when did "scrapbooking" become something other than preserving life? When did memory making become a competition for who's page is the best, who used the best paper or the newest products to decorate?  The act of scrapbooking isn’t what is important. It’s life that’s important. It’s creating memories with your children and family.

I choose to  chase bubbles with the boys and snap a photo here and there, instead of standing behind the lens and watch the magic of my kids’ childhood unfold with one eye closed, with half  my brain concentrating on the kids, while the other side is correcting my composition for the perfect photograph.  The definition of the perfect photograph is, in my opinion, quite distorted.  The make-up of a perfect photograph is not whether the lighting was exact,or if the composition was impeccable, nor is it the perfect posing of subjects. The perfect make-up of the perfect photo is whether the essence of the moment is captured even if there is chocolate or boogers streaming down my sons face as he’s laughing in the sunshine because his older brother is chasing him with a worm or some other creature. This ‘imperfect’ photo would transport me and I would be taken back to that day at that time when I was there experiencing life. I don’t want to remember the perfect technicalities of the photo, I want to remember the sound of his giggle, the sound his tiny pigeon-toed feet make as they glide across the green grass, the magic I felt in my heart as the happiness dripped from the hands of my 8 year old who holds a soggy worm discovered after the recent rainstorm. Snap photo's while you are enjoying living life, but don't worry about having the perfect photo so much so that you forget about being present. Trust me, they notice!

There was a time when I was so wrapped up in the art of memory making that I forgot to see the reason behind the art. I had the perfect scrapbook area set-up complete with a baby gate to keep little baby hands away from the supplies. There were times I would tell him just a few more minutes, I was almost caught up. There was a time when I was too busy concentrating on how many photographs I was snapping and how I would arrange them on my colored card stock, which patterned papers I would match them with, the font I would journal with, and the amount of accessories I would adorn the page with.  You know what though, the time came when I would sit down to journal about said event. The words that escaped through my pen, were generic. “ We had a great time at the park.  Ayden really enjoyed the swing. Caler sat quietly in his car seat observing his older brother with awe.”  Yes, it is what happened, but it’s not what happened.  If I had truly been there...been 100% present, I would have written about the changing expressions that appeared on Ayden’s face as he soared higher and higher. The way he leaped excitedly from the swing to land safely in his momma’s awaiting arms.  I would have been able to write about the way Caler gazed after his brother longing to be running alongside him. I would have written about the way my heart pounded as Ayden climbed the ladder nearly reaching the clouds.

Please, I'm begging you take the time you have been presented with and use it wisely. Choose to be there instead of half-way there. Choose to play hide and seek instead of watching from the sidelines. Choose to LIVE LIFE and as you LIVE IT ... OBSERVE IT IN ACTION. 

This way... you won't need a do-over.

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