Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Memories in a Flash

By Kelly

I finished Connor's baby book last month.

Don't be impressed.

He'll be five in October.

The books -- that's right, I'm confessing, he has baby books, plural, as in more than one -- are so mammoth, they really deserve their own birth announcement.

"Kelly @ Love Well is thrilled to introduce her newest addition, 'Connor: the First Year.' The books weigh approximately 20 pounds and stand 8 inches tall when stacked. 'Connor: The First Year' joins 'Natalie: The First Year' in the storage hutch, where they will hopefully be kept safe from the elements and all acid-tinged papers."

It's scrapbooking gone wild, people. It's INSANITY. And while I can certainly change my form of scrapbooking -- I'm currently switching to digital, and I love it -- I can't walk away from the idea of scrapbooking. Partly because my children are adorable, and partly because I want them to record my memories for them. But mostly because I have to do SOMETHING with the thousands upon thousands of pictures I take of them each year.

I wish that were an exaggeration. But it's not. And I bet you have a similar problem. In the olden days, when we had to buy film (remember that?) and then take our 36 snapshots and wait for the film to get developed (remember that?) before we got our prints back, we took considerably fewer photos. At least, I did. We didn't even own a camera (besides my pitiful 110, which hardly counts) the first five years of our marriage.

But now? My camera is digital. Pictures are free and immediate. Therefore, I have become the most annoying of paparazzi to my children. I take pictures all day, every day -- especially if we are doing something special like leaving the house or eating breakfast or playing at the park.

Don't believe me? I spent the weekend sorting through the pictures I took last week. I had to pick through almost 700.

(In my defense, we did all sorts of fun things last week, like visit the the county fair and celebrate Natalie's birthday and go to the beach. But still. It's the principle.)

I've been thinking about this digital photo addiction. Surely, some of it can be chalked up to the freedom granted by the digital era. We can see instantly if our shot was in focus or if someone blinked at the flash. We get instant gratification if our photos turn out well. (How many times have you told your husband to come look at the cute picture you just took -- even though he was standing next to you two seconds ago while you took the picture?) Plus, it's free. Why not take 150 pictures of kindergarten graduation? We don't have to print any of them if we don't want to.

But I wonder if something deeper is at play.

As a mom, I am increasingly aware of the passing of time. My children are growing up. My baby, whom I brought home from the hospital about a month ago, it seems, will be seven months old by the end of this week. My daughter just learned to ride her bike without training wheels. My son is playing with Legos -- the small ones, not the big ones -- and he doesn't need my help to get the pieces apart.

I can't stop time. Heck, I can't even slow it down.

But when I take a picture, ahhh. Then that moment is frozen. It's captured. It's mine. I can control time, even if the results are only in kilobytes.

It's a small way of keeping my children one or four or seven forever. Those chubby cheeks. That little hand. That quirky grin. In a picture, time stands still.

Which explains why I take a few pictures almost every day. I want to keep a few of those grains of sand that slip through my fingers.

Time marches on. But pictures are forever.

Kelly also blogs and shares her photos at Love Well.


  1. I don't take nearly enough pictures on a daily basis, but when I do get the camera out- yes- watch out. I find I'm so guilty of not videotaping them and hope I don't have regrets someday! Blogging is my scrapbooking and I do love to get that perfect photo that sincerely captures their essence. That is the best.


  2. I'm guilty of trying to capture time by taking pictures of everything. And now I have a ton of mini videos since I discovered the video mode of my digital camera. I keep telling myself that someday I'll piece all those 30 second video clips together into one big DVD. I'm sure it will happen right after Princess's scrapbook gets finished, just in time for her wedding.

  3. We take pictures more than we video, and I suppose I will regret that. But otherwise, we are walking the same path. You know, my daughter was born in August 2003, and in November 2003, we took 1100 pictures!! I have boxes and boxes, just waiting to put into scrapbooks (I don't even make pretty pages; I just label the pictures). But, I think you've captured the reason why I do it perfectly. I feel like the sand is slipping through my fingers and there is no way to stop it.

  4. Yep, I am with you! I have sooooooo many pictures, and I LOVE to scrapbook! I have also just switched to digital, and I really enjoy it.

  5. Oh Kelly, you are so right! This is the only way to stop time...my son is 6 months old (as of yesterday) and I was shocked and dismayed the other day to think that I can barely remember what he looked like when he was born. Thank God for digital pictures. I hope by age 5 I have my kids pictures done for the first year also. It seems like a good goal. My daughter is already 3 - gotta keep moving. (At least it is started.) Thanks for sharing - if only we could truly stop the time.

  6. Yes, yes, yes! Totally. You captured the feeling perfectly.
    I am so on the fence as to whether to stick with paper scrapbooking or switch to digital -- right now the main thing holding me back is my very low frustration level with all things computer. In the meantime, I scrap on, when I can.

  7. I am guilty of it as well. I have 4 scrapbooks of my son (he is only 2). The first one was my pregnancy, and every year after that. One year turned into two scrapbooks. Right now he loves to have his pic taken b/c he says cheese everytime. I buy way to much scapbook supplies(i do use all of them) and use way to ink printing photos.

  8. I totally do the same thing! Every month, when my little boy turns a month older (he's 8 months old now), I go through this almost withdrawal, like panicking, "No, he can't be 2/3rds of a year old yet!" And I take lots of pictures during that time. And get emotional about everything. :)

  9. It's kind of like what Angie wrote on Bring the Rain in this post.

  10. I am right there with you. A few weeks ago, I took our little tyke (who just turned two) to the County Fair and took 150 pictures. AT THE FAIR? Why, yes, at the fair! There is so much to see and do! Glad to see I'm not the only one obsessed with taking pictures of every single thing he does...everyday! :)

  11. That was a beautiful post.

    Fellow Mom, photographer & scrapbooker,

  12. I am going to have to give this post to my husband, mostly to prove I'm not "the only one". My 2 year old now says, "Cheese!" when she is doing something cute and I'm not even holding a camera. Yeah, it's that bad! :)