Yes, I Take a Lot of Pictures, and No, I'm Not Going to Stop

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I just read a very well-put blog defending modern parents from the latest criticism of taking too many pictures of our kids, but it left me so mad and I couldn't fit all the reasons why in a simple comment. Is this really a debate? Seriously? NOW we're terrible parents for cherishing memories with our kids? It is time to stop the madness of the never-ending parenting criticisms. The author defends her use of her phone and camera, and shared a particularly adorable snap of her and her daughter on a morning outing.

I'm a photo junkie. By no means a means a talented artist, I have been accused of being somewhat obsessed. I am decidedly unapologetic about this. I love my kids, and I want to hold onto this age, this moment, forever and ever. I am not forever behind the camera; I am an active participant in the lives of my boys. It's about balance, people. But I love to take a special moment in time, and freeze it to revisit over and over. I have my share of posed pics with silly smiles, but I have a plethora of albums full of candid, in the moment shots that I cherish and treasure. They will not win awards. National Geographic is not beating down my door. But every time I look at that photo, I am back in that moment. I feel the joy, the sentimental gooey insides feeling. I sometimes tear up. It's like my own personal little time machine whizzing me back.

Parents Taking Pictures
Credit: ddebold.

I am the youngest, and I was a child of the 70's and early 80's. You know what that means? There are precious few pictures of me as a child. There are some: My Dad was a photographer as well, but a fraction of what they had of my sister. Then came divorce and dividing the house, and somehow the box with many pictures was lost in the shuffle, so now there is literally only a handful. That kills me. And the ones we had were mostly posed. Do you have any idea what a candid picture of my Mom and I laughing when I was a child would mean to me right now? Or my sister and I with tangled hair flowing behind us in the sun as we ran in the back yard with our beloved dog, blowing bubbles and giggling like the little girls we were? Man, I'd love to have those right now.

I do not deny that there are times where my husband and kids get tired of me taking their pictures and video. I have an adorable video of my 3-year-old on the carousel at Disney World telling me he doesn't want me to take his video with his cute little forehead all wrinkled up at me. It only lasts a few seconds, as I smiled and complied, put my phone away, and we laughed our way through the ride. But when I watch it I laugh and am transported back to that hot, sticky night, our last on vacation, just me and him. Everyone else had left to ride the big rides one last time. My oldest was at that moment braving Space Mountain for the very first time with his Dad and beloved Uncle. It was just me and my little man on the Fantasy Land rides. It was just before the park was closing, and we were packing in as many rides as we could on our way out of the park. I remember his hot, dirty, chubby little face. I remember him tired, making me carry him the entire way out of the park as we didn't have the stroller at the time with us, and the burning ache in my arms for it. I remember stopping to watch the Electric Lights Parade. He'd never been at the park that late and had not yet seen it. I don't have the pictures from that, as my tuckered little guy wanted held and snuggled while we watched and I wasn't giving him up for a pic in that moment, but I don't need it. The carousel picture and video transport me and it all comes rushing back to me. I am there, in that moment. I have the stupid, goofy, happy Mom grin on my face as I type about it.

That's what pictures do for you. And for your kids. My husband complains about me taking pictures, but every year for their birthday we take all the photos of that kid from that year and make a slideshow to music that they liked that year, and it's my husband's favorite part of the birthday. He demands his own set of prints of pictures, and many are posted up in our room around his dresser next to his Dad of the Year homemade frame. Often my boys will dig out one of our many volumes of photo albums and ask to sit with us on the couch and look at them together. We laugh and tease, we engage in storytelling and they learn about the times before they were born, or when they were babies. They see all the loving, excited family surrounding them in the hospital when they were born and I tell them, again, about how I laughed from the hospital bed, forgotten, at the pack of paparazzi following whoever had won the latest battle to hold them while cameras and cell phones flashed and snapped. They see, not just hear, that they were loved immediately by everyone.

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