Saturday, February 07, 2009

Photographic Memory

FH's mom is the most devoted shutterbug I've ever known. She insisted on photographing and videotaping my father-in-law's funeral, and the rosary held the day before. FH loves to take pictures too.

Years ago, FH couldn't make it to Princess' preschool graduation, so he asked me to take pictures of it for him. As we neared the end of the presentation, it occurred to me that I'd spent the entire event watching my daughter through the viewfinder, waiting for the perfect shot, wishing she'd move a little to the left or that the kid behind her would quit picking his nose or that Sonshine would stop pulling on my arm. And I realized how pathetic it was. My daughter was important; a picture was just nice to have. And yet I was valuing taking a picture of my daughter above being there to enjoy my daughter, to have her see me looking at her and smiling with pride instead of frowning with frustration with my eye behind a camera. From that day on I vowed that I'd put living my life before recording it for posterity. What good was it to record me posing for the camera, over and over and over? That's not what my life is about.

There is a time and a place for pictures. But sometimes I wonder if we spend so much time trying to record our lives that we forget to actually live them.