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My Heart Dropped (Then Picked Right Back Up)

July 27, 2011

I opened the envelope and pulled out the index print of images today and my heart dropped.  I messed up the exposure on every single image on the roll of film.

I was kicking myself for feeling confident, for relying on the not-so-reliable light meter in the old camera since my 2 year old threw my actually reliable light meter down the stairs and it broke, for not just sticking with the reliable Sunny 16 when in doubt. For taking my film to a place where I know the scans are repeatedly awful, but it meets my need for instant gratification.

Mostly, my heart dropped because when we were leaving the house this morning, I decided to leave the digital camera at home and in doing so messed up every picture from the loveliest day we’ve had in a long time.

I’ve been wanting to take the kids to water for what feels like forever, but our daily routine of morning activity followed by lunch and naps sort of makes it hard to go to pools that don’t even open until noon.  I’ve been hunting for a good shallow creek to let them explore with no luck and, honestly, at near 100 degrees for a solid week or two now, I wanted a bit more body of water.  So I decided last night at 10pm to get all packed up and ready to head to a lake at a State Park about an hour away first thing this morning.

We swam. Had perfect weather for a day in the water. Got a sunburn for the first time in a long time(me, not the kids thankfully.) Played in the sand.  Stayed in the water for over two hours straight. Didn’t play with toys more than a shovel  and a found old fork.  Had real conversation with my mom.  Wore a bathing suit and didn’t once think  about or care how I looked.  Ate ice cream and nachos from a concession stand for lunch.  Napped in the car. Felt the  sunshine on our shoulders.

It was just what we  all  needed – an adventure away, time spent quietly together, time spent outside with sunshine and blue skies, lots of little ones’ laughs and smiles and discovered treasures in the world.  All of those memories remain, pictures or not.  I think I need to remind myself of this every so often.

I often grasp for memory documentation, especially through a lens, because I know how fleeting this time is while they’re so small.  This time when she squeals with glee when she finally accomplishes something that makes her feel like a big kid.  This time when he has the very few in-between baby moments left of letting me just hold him and float in the water with him in my arms, stealing kisses and smelling his curls and the sweetness of his neck.

These memories remain.  Even if details get blurry later in life or we don’t have pictures to remember, I know that I have tried my hardest to live the moments of their lives being present and loving them to the absolute best of my ability and to the point of a heart bursting full of love. I may have failed at getting exposures right on film today, but we definitely succeeded at having a really wonderful day full of so much goodness – and that’s what matters.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. July 27, 2011 11:25 pm

    You are so right – at the end of the day it’s not the pictures that matter; it’s the memories you tuck warmly into your heart’s locket.

    But being the lover of photography that you are, I get why your heart stings right now. I really love the first photo. It’s ethereal. I love the other photos too. You take such gorgeous, composed shots – that beauty is what shines through.

  2. July 27, 2011 11:26 pm

    I don’t care if the exposure is messed up, that pic of Mia’s tush in the air is awesome

  3. July 27, 2011 11:42 pm

    oh, wait! that’s her hat! on first glance I thought she was flipped over Cirque de Soliel style. that’ll teach me to comment after I’ve been drinking. :$

  4. July 28, 2011 12:20 am

    These photos look vintage! I think you might have stumbled upon something here😉 But yeah, your photos are usually quite special, so I can see why you were disappointed at first. I’m looking forward to seeing you conquer it!

  5. July 28, 2011 2:05 pm

    So true. I want the photos and videos so I never forget how wonderful they are in this moment (especially during special times and trips) but like you said it’s just the icing.

  6. August 1, 2011 12:43 pm

    This is beautiful, in every way. I’m working my way through your posts and really enjoying each one.

  7. August 1, 2011 7:27 pm

    I have never seen a mother talk with such gentle tenderness about her babies. They are lucky to have such a thoughtful, creative mother. Glad to have found your site. Inspired as an artist and as a future Mommy.

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