A habit I started years ago turned into an important part of my life… leaving my camera out on the kitchen counter. It’s been very good advice.
Because there are so many moments. Everyday moments. Glimmers of kindness, of hope, of joy, of love. They are always there. To capture them gives me great joy.
I LOVE taking pictures. Especially of our children. But my favorite pictures are not the classic portraits, of getting them all lined up just so in this particular spot that captures that beautiful tree in the background and the perfect lighting (although that can be fun). My favorites are catching that real smile because someone is laughing at a joke, or they are playing catch with their dad in the yard, or the sheer joy on their faces when they get to go play in the summer rain. And usually, my favorite group shot is usually the first one while they are all still being real and not just smiling for the camera. I love catching them in an act of kindness and snatching a picture without them realizing.
The everyday hum of life. That’s what I love to capture. Yes, there will be pictures of trips and Christmas and birthdays, but there will be the little moments. Someone reading quietly on the porch, a spontaneous painting session, making dinner together, bathing the baby in the sink, block building, family rosary, playdough squishing, baking cookies, playing board games, an intense game of soccer in the yard, or football, or whiffle ball, playing in the $5 sprinkler, quietly pondering or standing in awe of something, racing to jump in the kiddie pool no matter what the age, apple picking, kitchen dance party, cooking applesauce, catechism night, endless hours of sledding and hot chocolate, doing crafts, making a garden, holding a baby… The everyday hum. Those tiny moments that make life beautiful.
It’s those moments I look for and I take a step back to truly savor them. The goodness of each child. Their special gifts that peek through. Their love for one another. Their love for God. Their JOY. It’s all so beautiful.
And, I find it’s important to look for these moments. Because family life is hard. It’s beautiful and hard. There are these dear little souls that God has given us – for a time… to love and help form them to truly become who God made them to be – saints! Children don’t always get along, or sleep, or are kind, or make good choices, or help, or are obedient, or are loving. Of course they are sometimes, and sometimes more than other times, but not ALL the time. Neither are we, right? This saint-making process is not a quick and easy endeavor. It is hard. It is tiring. It bends us and breaks every selfish bone in our body. It continually challenges us to love, love, love and never give up. And when we think we are failing miserably, we remember that they are God’s – we are His helpers. In those moments of doubt, of sorrow or anxiety, let us give our children to God. Place them in His Hands and ask for help. He wants to give His grace – we must ask for it. We aren’t called to be super-parents and do this all on our own. We need Him. And He wants us. He loves us. And He sees all those thousands of moments of selfless love that we give to our children… maybe we will see that photo album in Heaven. 🙂
So, leave your camera on the counter. You may be picking it up more than you think.