I spent Saturday morning catching up on my children’s year books.
I gathered the loose bits of paper I’ve flung about the place with things scrawled upon them like: 11th June — first rolled over, or the list of words Ella could say by 18 months. The biggest, greatest challenge was sorting through the thousands of photos I’ve taken of them – their milestones and their daily moments – the beautiful, funny or most “them” pictures that would fill the pages of their little books — the stories of their days, their months and eventually, their years.
I got so far lost down this maze of memories, reliving the events which had happened to them over their short little lives, and trying to choose a few memorable points and photos to document for them each month. The first night Ella ever spent away from us, her first time at the Ekka show, the day we told her she was going to be a big sister, her first plane ride, Billy’s first smile, the day his sister drew all over his face in permanent marker, the first time he rolled over and how much Ella and I cheered.
It was one big sap fest, really. I was glad Joel wasn’t home. Because it’s hard, isn’t it? As necessary as it is, it’s so hard to watch them grow up — to have cold, hard evidence of their disappearing seasons. It’s confronting to just press stop on your happening-right-now life and look back, startled, wondering where your babies disappeared to and if you appreciated the moments you had with them. Or if you even recall them.
There was so much I had forgotten. It was bittersweet to be reminded of little quirks and simple things they had grown out of. And there was also so much I hadn’t documented. No video of Ella’s first steps, or a photo, or even a scribbled date somewhere. There was no video or picture of her signing the words “please” or “finished” – the only two words Joel taught her to sign before she could speak and how cute it was to watch.
But I can’t tell you how glad I am to have fallen in love with photography when I did – to have so many moments and so many quirky daily things recorded — to have used photography as a way to document this once-in-a-lifetime, soul-stretching, unbelievably beautiful journey of life with children.
I make these year books and take these photos and document their lives for them – creating storybooks for them they will likely have no memory over, but I do it for me, too. Mostly for me, perhaps. Because sometimes I don’t know what else to do but document it – the wild, engulfing love we feel for our children and the way in which it hits us square in the face and changes our lives forever.
Photography is like warping time, just for a moment. It’s like filling time capsules with precious memories and great big stories of family and love and these fleeting moments of our lives, only to unwrap them again later, ever so carefully, with tears in our eyes, watching before us our youth and our riches come to life again, reliving the hundreds of joys we’ve been lucky enough to have felt.
Even Joel has joined the photography movement and opened an Instagram account, which is basically the equivalent of a vegan eating a meat pie. Joel’s quite allergic to all forms of social media, but I suspect even he recognizes the joy and beauty and importance of freezing time, just for a little bit, and storing it away to be cherished all over again.
And so, I’ve decided to create another little photo challenge for us here in the tent. To encourage us all to get out our cameras more, to look deeper into our moments and find the joy in them, to look with different eyes at the scene we may be in. Above all, photography is fun. It’s creative. And who doesn’t say a big hell yes to fun?
So join me for a July photo challenge.
Take a photo each day corresponding to the topic of the day. Post it on Instagram, or Facebook with the hashtag #redtentphotochallenge so I can see your small happies, too. Every time we do one of these challenges I SO LOVE getting a small window into your lives and watching you play along. It’s going to be a fun month, friends.
We start tomorrow.
And since I’m in love with my camera and all – some favourite captures of our weekend.
My yoga baby.
Pottering about in the kitchen, taking our sweet weekend time.
And cute smoothie mustaches.
The Window, the closeness of our houses and our daily neighbourly chats. Love them.
Waking up to find Ella’s herb seeds had sprouted. Total excitement.
Hiding from the rain, waiting for the storm clouds to pass.
Post-bath dance parties.
Clearing out Joel’s “office” and making pretty spaces for my precious friend Caitlin to come stay with us tomorrow. (She’s back! Holy freaking excitement!)
Crisp winter afternoons by the ocean.
And getting as dirty as childhood should be.
Clean Slate Day for all – make it a good week. Oh, and what do you think of our new tent? Things are getting a make-over around here! More changes to come soon!