Motherhood is hard. Wait, LIFE is hard. But the best part is we’re all in it together. Come join me as we find our own zen in the middle of parenthood, marriage, extended family, volunteering and just generally enjoying our time here in Lake County.
Social media has its place. It’s instant, easy, free, fun. I get it, I play along. But don’t underestimate the power of a good old fashioned photo album. I don’t take pictures just to see how many likes/favorites I get on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I take them because it’s a memory that I hope will never fade, a happy moment that should live on forever. We should all take AND PRINT these photos! Photographs capture love, peace, grace, joy and beauty.
I’m not trying to guilt you into it or judge you. Please don’t stress, this just isn’t another “to do” item … It’s a way to make sure your children never grow up, don’t you believe me? When I look back at pictures, they flood my mind with wonderful memories.
I love everything about taking photographs. I love candids. I love posed pictures. I love exploring the settings on my camera. I love taking photographs of other people, printing them out and sharing them. I love pictures of leaves changing and snow falling.
But most of all I love pictures of my two children. They are my greatest gift and my most wonderful creation. I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to be their mom. I wake up every day thankful for that. I have a few of my favorite snapshots pinned up at my desk at work and rotate them every few weeks. They make me smile hundreds of times per day.
I encourage you to do something more than just “upload them to the cloud.” And please for the love of all that is holy, please tell me you don’t just snap pictures with your phone and do NOTHING with them. Social media is not a baby book or a family photo album. Even if you think a family photograph is a chore, do it. As the saying goes, the days are long, but the years are short. I encourage you to at least get a selfie stick or tripod (or splurge for a family portrait session) once a year but really much more than that. You’ll never regret it.
Print photos. Talk about them as a family. Pick your favorite one and blow it up HUGE and hang it on the wall. And replace it every year. With an old one, or a new one. Encourage your kids to count their blessings. “Look at all the fun stuff we did last summer; what are your goals for this summer?”
A photograph is no replacement for the original experience — this I know! It’s much better to hug someone in person or see the mountains in person. You need to have real-life experiences to understand how much beauty there is in the world, so don’t just take photographs go out and explore! Don’t forget to just be. Sit and look up at the stars. Stop and literally smell the roses. Get up early and drive over to Lake Michigan and watch the sunrise. I’m not trying to tell you to look into your phone (or camera lens) all day long. Live in the present, dream about the future, but take a few moments to honor the past. You don’t need a photo of every single moment … balance is key.
I am currently making a photo book from 2014; I did the 365 grateful project where I took a picture of something I was grateful for every single day. Most people say to me, “how did you have something to take a photo of every single day?” What I found was that I had multiple pictures almost every day and the biggest challenge was which ONE to pick for my book. If you take time to count your blessings (with photos or a journal or whatever method you choose) you’ll find you have so much more to be happy about if you bring it front of mind. A peaceful moment at yoga class, a special ice cream cone on the first sunny spring day, time snuck away with a girlfriend for coffee, a date with your husband, a nap, cozy PJ’s, a good book or new running shoes. Make the small things, big things and your happiness becomes big!
If something else makes you as happy as photography, do that. As often as you can. If someone gave me a hammer, I couldn’t do anything useful with that. I mean, I can swing a hammer, but I wasn’t BORN to swing a hammer. Some people are — they enjoy the smell, the feel, the conceptual ideas and inspiration from a plain piece of wood. And it’s simply amazing what they can create from it.
Some people have beautiful voices and sing all day long. Some people are so talented at making music, songs that touch your heart, a gorgeous tune that just flows off their fingers into the guitar. Some people can bake and cook and make you feel so welcome in their home. I feel that about photography. What do you feel it about? Painting? Speaking? Writing? Drawing? Running? Reading? Playing Piano? Make sure you do whatever you love a little bit each and every day (And if I ask nicely, will you also take a family portrait? Pretty please?).