When a camera is an afterthought

Photo by Chance Agrella/FreeRangeStock.com

As I was getting into my car after work one day last month, I saw what looked like one bird standing on the back of another. There's a hill there, so most likely, what I really saw was one standing behind the other and a little more uphill, giving the illusion of the piggy-backing birds, much like those photos you see in which someone looks like he or she is holding up the Eiffel Tower.

I started the engine and thought, "I wish my daughter could've seen that."

By the time it occurred to me that I had a camera on my phone in my pocket, I had started the engine and startled the birds, prompting them to flap their wings and fly away.

"Darn," I thought, "now I can't even show her a picture."

That's typical of me, often forgetting I can capture a moment until the moment has passed.

But that's not how I started motherhood.

Before my daughter was born, I had a regular cellphone that took teeny tiny photos that left me wondering, "Now, what was that a photo of again?"

But I was OK with that. I hardly ever took photos anyway, even on vacations. Sometimes I would think, "I'll take lots of pictures when we go to Busch Gardens," but then I'd either forget to pack the camera or forget to unpack it. And that didn't bother me.

But then I got pregnant, and a desire kicked in to flood my Facebook wall (that's what your profile was called back then) with as many photos of my baby as I could.

I upgraded my phone before my daughter was born, and for those first few weeks, I took photos like crazy. Photos of my baby in bed, in my arms, in her daddy's arms, crying when daddy read comic books to her, you name it, I captured it.

I love having all of those first moments, and it makes my day to stumble across one I had forgotten about. For all of those years I didn't take many photos, I never realized what I was missing.

But when my seven weeks of maternity leave was up, my photo-taking days became few and fewer until eventually, I was back to my old habits.

And that brings me back to the birds I saw as I left work that day and how silly I felt that it didn't occur to me to take a picture until it was too late.

In that moment, I decided to make an effort to take more photos and videos of my daughter, family vacations and just whatever mundane goings-on that are unlikely to be of any interest to anyone outside of my family.

I just hope this time, it lasts longer than seven weeks.

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