Last week Elijah stayed home from school a couple days because of an ear infection, and I was given an opportunity to do something that I haven’t done nearly enough in recent months. Not only did I get to snuggle a little more with my big boy, but I also got to grab my camera and capture some moments of my two boys just being together.
I love adorable pictures of them dressed handsomely and smiling happily, but those perfectly posed shots rarely tell as much of a story as a simple picture of my children playing on the living room floor.
There is something so precious to my mommy heart about a candid moment between my two little guys as they build a tower or “race” their cars along the lines of the area rug.
It’s grabbing a piece of my “every day” and saving and savoring it.
Most days, by the time Elijah is home from school, I’m working on dinner, finishing up laundry, or some other housekeeping task while the boys are playing, so I usually miss out on just watching them and seeing how they interact (although I can always hear the giggles and little arguments). It’s not often that I get to sit and witness these seconds of their growing up together.
So one day last week, I was able to get belly-down to the floor and listen as Elijah, a typical older brother, directed Josiah on how they were playing with their castle, knights, blocks, and the random character toys they’d pulled from the toy box. I watched Josiah grin in awe and admiration of Elijah’s stair-buildings skills. And even though I didn’t take a picture of it, I saw Elijah’s frustration when Josiah accidentally knocked over parts of that stairway and his patience as they worked to build it back up.
Sure I could have spent less time on the floor, just snatched up my phone, and taken a couple of shots, but that’s not what I wanted. Phone shots are almost always more for everybody else, for quickly sharing something, or in a pinch, catching a moment when my real camera isn’t nearby.
Of course, some people only think of taking out a “real” camera for special events – birthdays, weddings, trips to the zoo.
I like my camera for pictures from those things, too, but what I treasure are the pictures of my boys in the seemingly mundane, ordinariness of something they do every day.
Because it’s simply them being them. (And I LOVE them)
Photographs like this require me to slow down a bit and really pay attention to everything going into the picture.
These moments aren’t meant to be “just point, shoot, and post.” It’s about recording the story for them and for me.
Through my camera lens, I get to hold onto to this time when they imagine silly scenarios and create fantastic worlds together. Even though they seem so little now, I know it won’t be long before they are grown.
I want to take every chance that I can to treasure each day with these precious gifts from God, to notice the details of their average day, and capture the moments of their childhood while they are still children.
Of course, once I’ve gotten some pictures, I put my camera down and join their playing.
I don’t just want to capture their memories. I want to be a rather big part of them, too.
If you’d like to get better photos of your family, you can read my 4-part series, How to Take Better Pictures of Your Kids.