Sunday, March 25, 2018

Magic in the Moments

Confession time: I've been struggling a little bit lately.

If you follow my instagram page at all you might be aware that I'm doing a 365 project where I post a picture every day of our lives. I'm loving being intentional about photographing my family and editing every day keeps me more on track than.. oh say.. the past 7 years or so where I've barely editing or printed ANY pictures of my children because I'll do it "someday".. *hangs head in shame* You may have also noticed that I tend to post a lot of photos that capture a snippet of our happy days together. Kids splashing in puddles, snowflakes on tongues, puppy snuggles.. basically the essence of the perfect childhood and family life.

Which would be in direct contrast to this blog I seem to remember writing at one point..

I feel like my entire social media existence up until this point has been about being real and raw and honest and not sugar coating or acting like life is perfect or my kids are perfect or my house is perfect and now here I am.. posting only pictures of us frolicking in puddles and and dancing in sunbeams and playing with newborn puppies and tra la la!! It's felt a bit traitor-ish to me because I know our lives do not look like that on a daily basis, yet I'm in this constant struggle of wanting to create beautiful images, while being true to myself and not creating a lie about what our lives look like.

And then I realized something.

Motherhood.. and parenthood... and heck, just lifehood (ok.. I made that up) is full of ups and downs and hard moments and tears and tantrums and messes and sleepless nights and muddy boots and exhaustion and arguments and sometimes it seems like those things will never end. But tucked in there.. (I think it's somewhere between the spilled milk and cracker crumbs) are magical moments. Magical everyday moments. Sometime they get buried under the every day stuff, but they're there. Tucked in to the folds of everyday life.

The moment your baby takes his first steps.
The moment you hear the words 'mama' for the first time.
The moment those sweet chubby arms wrap around your neck and squeeze a big hug.
The moment she leans her head against your chest and falls asleep.
The moment his little hand reaches up to hold yours.
The moment she colors you a picture or writes her name.
The moment he picks you a bouquet of wildflowers.
The everyday moments where laughter fills the walls and the pitter patter of footsteps echoes down the halls.

There is magic in these moments. I don't want to be too busy or overwhelmed or tired to look for them. I want to choose to see them for what they are, and remember these moments.

It's all about perspective and how you choose to look at things.

I could choose to look at this setting and see a messy toy room for what it is. A messy toy room. A room that desperately needs cleaned but will go back to looking like this in 5 minutes or less so what's the point? This is how I could choose to view most of my days. Looking down at my children, seeing the endless to-do lists and bills to pay and forms to sign and things to clean and pick up and put away and organize..

Or I could choose to look closer and find the magic.

These photos were taken only a few minutes apart. Yet isn't the difference dramatic?

This isn't simply a comparison of the difference between a "nice" camera and a cell phone shot, but instead the real difference is simply perspective. Perspective to look past the mess and see the beauty that was right in front of me all along. To stop for a moment. Get down on the ground. On my children's level. To get up close and see and hear and feel and touch and taste the things that truly matter. (Ok, I didn't taste the flowers, but you know what I mean..)

That's what motherhood feels like to me. Being surrounded by a series of untimely messy moments and all of a sudden, when you're least expecting it, perhaps when you're feeling the most exhausted of all, a moment so beautiful it takes your breath away. A moment that has potential to pass you by if you're not present to see it. You have to be looking for it. You have to be willing to slow down and get down and experience it.

Because the thing is.. the magical moments don't always FEEL magical. I've been a stay at home mom for nearly 12 years so sometimes when we're building with blocks and it's the actual 35,791 time I've built with these same blocks, well.. it's easy to feel bored with it. It's easy to overlook it as just "one more thing." But it's truly not. This is what I love about photography. The moment I pull out my camera and look through the viewfinder my entire perspective is transformed. I get to choose what I see. I get to choose how I want to tell my story. What I want to be in focus and what I want to blend into the background. The view through my lens can be narrowed and focused or wide open and bright. It depends on the type of lens I use or the setting I choose. But I get to choose. I get to choose what I see and how I feel and how I want to live and remember this moment. And all of a sudden the sunlight hitting the blocks truly IS magical and this day really is unique and full of potential.

Photography forces me to slow down and observe the details. The way my daughter's hair falls across her face in the evening light. The curled little toes of my youngest as he snuggles on the couch. The way he hugs his teddy bear tight or the way his blankie trails behind him as he climbs the stairs to bed.

Motherhood is full of beautiful moments. And I don't want to miss them.

So if you follow my photography at all and you're getting annoyed that I seem to be living a dream life with dream children in a dream home then you are obviously DREAMING!! But seriously.. please know that life is not all roses and puddles and sunsets and unicorns and fairy dust, all while holding hands and frolicking in gorgeous golden hour sunlight. Most days are hard and overwhelming and frustrating and I constantly feel like I'm not doing this motherhood thing right at all. But creating these images, capturing this fleeting moment in time that is so precious.. well it's just my way of discovering the magic in those moments.