Since it is #TBT (That means ‘throw back thursday,’ Mom), can we talk about Christmas today? I know it is February, but can we throw it back for a minute to the holidays?
I wanted 1 thing for Christmas 2015. I wanted an adorable picture of my kids sitting together, laughing and smiling under the twinkling lights of our tree, glowing in the magic that is the Christmas spirit in their matching pajamas that I ordered in September (SEPTEMBER! Because I’m that level of Christmas crazy!). One great photo for the baby books, you know? And Instagram, obviously. This is what I got.
So I tried again on another night…and I got this.
The fact that my children would not cooperate and grant me my Christmas wish of the ‘perfect photo’ kind of annoyed me.
But it also got me thinking…
In our quest to capture the perfect Instagram photo, do we sometimes fail to capture the really good moments in life? Are we so busy staging joy for a photo that we miss the real joy of the moment? I’m talking about the kind of joy that doesn’t always photograph well. The messy joy.
Sometimes I get annoyed when I walk through NYC and I notice all the people waiving selfie sticks around like lightsabers. If I were bolder I would tell them to put that freaking stick away and actually experience the city. I would also tell them to get out of my way because I’m not a tourist having fun, I’m just trying to walk home from the doctor and their selfie-stick is blocking the cross walk. But I’m southern so instead I say, “excuse me” and smile and wheel my double stroller around them.
But I realized over Christmas, I’m not all that different from those tourist with the selfie-sticks. There are times (*ahem* like over Christmas) when I am trying to force my kids to smile (which usually leads to 1 of them crying) and what I need to do is get my phone out of their face and just enjoy being with them.
I love social media as much as the next person. I’m really not hating on it. It’s a great place for shared celebration. In fact, I think I’m married to the King of Instagram – Dave takes more photos than anybody I know. This is a quality I both love and sort of hate. Sometimes I love it because he captured a random moment perfectly and I’m all, “OMG – send that to me so I can put it on Instagram!” And sometimes I hate it because he caught me without make-up and in my pajamas and I’m all, “OMG – did you post that?! Because if you did, we’ve got real problems.”
Social media is meant to be a highlight reel and that’s great…I just don’t want to forget to enjoy my messy behind the scenes footage too because I think that’s where the real joy is often found.
I hope we all keep taking photos and hashtaggin’ it up because I love how connected it makes us and if we cultivate it correctly, there is a wonderful community to be shared. But sometimes I, personally, need to put down the camera and stop photographing the blessings God has given me and actually enjoy the blessings God has given me. And that means embracing the chaos that, as you can clearly see, doesn’t always make for the prettiest picture. But you know what, it still makes for a pretty great life! 🙂
My challenge to myself (and you too) is to worry less about the story we are painting on the Internet and worry more about the life (and dare I say, legacy) we are building at home. Because life – real life – can’t be contained in those tiny social media squares.
I’ll continue posting cool pictures (read: pictures of my children) because it is a fun aspect of my life, but I hope I never get so caught up in taking a photo that I forget to just stop and take it all in.