As a young girl, I would cry when I looked at photos of myself from the past. I don’t mean a few weepy tears. I would break out in full hysterics. My older sister was always confused by my behavior and tried (unsuccessfully) to break me of the habit. It was hard to explain as a child what I was feeling, but I believe it was nostalgia. To this day, it is difficult for me to look at photos from the past and not break down. As a modern mom, overcoming these emotions has been a challenge as I strive to preserve every one of Micah’s milestones in photo and video. Needless to say, I keep a camera, phone or video recorder within arm’s reach, waiting to document every adorable moment of Micah’s life.
Sundays have become my designated time to upload, edit and share photos. I always knew that I would make a photo and video montage of Micah’s first year. As his birthday approached, I became completely obsessed with this project. I scoured through the meticulously organized photo collection to select the pictures and videos that made the cut. This proved to be quite a feat. I wanted to savor every moment and look at them all over and over again.
One Sunday, I found myself alone when the boys went to run errands. I was searching the Internet for song ideas to play with the montage. I found a website where other people had uploaded videos of their baby’s first year. I was completely caught off guard when I felt a lump forming in my throat and tears welling in my eyes. Here I was watching the memories of perfect strangers, and I was overwrought with emotion. I watched more videos, and the lump got bigger. Eventually, the tears began to fall. And fall. And fall some more. It was the ugly kind of cry that you hope no one else sees. The nostalgia I used to feel as a girl came flooding over me. I longed for my sweet smelling newborn. While I watched these unknown babies grow from zero to one, it dawned on me how far my own baby had come in such a short time. From opening his eyes to holding up his head and making his first sounds – nothing will ever replace the firsts of your firstborn. Everything is new and exciting and completely special in a way that can never be duplicated.
As I regained my normal breathing and composure, I realized that I needed to stay present. This made me realize something else: technological advances have changed the way we spend time with our children. You see, social networking creates a need to share our moments, sometimes before they even happen! I have caught myself asking my son to do things so I can get a good picture. I have even tried to recreate cute moments for the video opportunity. Maybe if I stayed more “in the moment,” I wouldn’t long for it when it was gone. Maybe the wistfulness will wane...maybe.
I’ll keep the camera close by just in case.