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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words… Or Is It?

One of my favorite things about being a mom is watching my daughter grow and change every day. On Monday, she’ll start making a new sound. On Tuesday, she’ll get up on her knees. On Wednesday, I’ll swear she just said, Hi. And so on and so on…

So as I’m watching her develop before my very eyes, I’m trying to document everything. And I’m wondering if I’m missing out on what’s happening because I’m watching her through the lens of my camera more than with my own eyes.

I’m constantly snapping photos and taking videos. My poor family is probably secretly cursing the fact that they asked me to document our last trip to Hawaii as their email inboxes overflow with one too many shots of HH playing with sand.

I tell myself that I’m going to be happy I have all of these pictures and videos later. (You can never have too many angles of your little one playing with the television remote control, right?)

But should I be writing about them instead? The diary I vowed I’d write in every month has sat untouched since March. Or should I just be watching and taking mental notes? Is it more important to my daughter that she see my mouth when I smile at her? Or does she just like the attention even if I’m blocked by my bulky Nikon? (Note to self: it’s time to download the thousands of pictures off your camera!)

On the aforementioned trip to Hawaii, I’d notice my husband playing in the pool with our daughter and I’d run to get my camera and snap away, then check the photos and ask him for retakes on the ones that weren’t that great. And at one point I had an out-of-body experience and thought, shouldn’t I just be enjoying this moment, watching my husband and daughter interacting? Being happy he’s such an involved father? But then the photographer in me said, having these pictures will allow you to enjoy the moments again later.

And that is true. Now that I’m back from the trip, I’ve enjoyed looking through the hundreds and hundreds of photos. And since she was born, I’ve loved looking back over the photos from the day I gave birth to this morning (she was so cute in her new Maui t-shirt!) And I think that if my daughter is anything like me, she’ll be happy that I so thoroughly documented her childhood. I know I wish there were more of me at her age. (And my mom was a pretty good documenter!)

I think the answer is to find a middle ground- to not worry about capturing every last moment on film or video. To live in the moment and be happy that I have such a beautiful baby girl. And instead of taking more photos, maybe find a few minutes to frame even one of the thousands of photos I’ve taken since she was born!