“Memory, my dear Cecily, is the diary that we all carry about with us.”
Miss Prism (The Importance of Being Earnest)
I love digital photography. I can take endless snapshots of pretty things and sweet moments without worrying about the cost or clutter of film and prints. Of course, the downside is that it takes me forever to get anything printed.
We have one giant family album that I’ve been working on for a while starting with our engagement photos up to the present day: The Lacasse Family Storybook. I’m at least a year behind. There are gaps where I haven’t finished putting in our wedding photos and Mabel hasn’t even made it into the album yet but the good intentions are there on the shelf. I’ll get to it eventually because I know one day my kids will pore over it the way I spent countless hours poring over the “1986” album from our family collection. It wasn’t even a baby album or mostly pictures of me but it was my year and I knew that album back to front.
The task of sifting through the thousands of photos on our various computers and devices is daunting because how can I know which are going to be the key identify-forming, story-telling images? Is it the photo of my coffee in the morning light or one of the 16 photos I just took of Addison holding Mabel because they just looked so cute? And which one of those 16 photos is it?
Recently someone mentioned to me that they don’t really remember their kids as toddlers because they’re too busy knowing them at their current age. It makes sense. Why spend time dwelling on the way someone was in the past when you are building a relationship with them in the present? But it also totally freaks me out- the next day I took twice as many photos and videos as usual. I got Addison to take a video of me kissing Mabel and a video of me conversing with Joy about the best part of her day; the thought that I won’t remember the feeling of those soft chubby cheeks and the sound of that funny little two-year-old voice makes me feel panicky.
I take photos to hold on the ephemeral but it also acts as a way to draw my attention to all of the gifts in my life. I love scrolling through my Instagram photos, and as I relive all the moments I felt compelled to capture I am tracking our story and God’s faithfulness.
Because the years fly by but the days are long. Long and messy and frustrating at times and, as a stay-at-home mom, I am often painfully aware of the passage of time. It races by like an unbearably long cargo train, while I sit at the crossing (probably texting my husband, asking what time he’ll be home), an observer of progress. Sometimes it feels like change is happening all around me but I’m stuck in sameness.
But God is present in the sameness. And I’m learning to trace His faithfulness in the midst of it. I must.
The days are long but the years are short. When I look back through pictures from a year, a month, even a week ago I can see how fast my children are changing. This revelation brings a twinge of sadness but also excitement for what lies ahead. With the magic of ordinary days, babyhood vanishes and is replaced with wonders anew. New words and skills are learned, new ideas formed, new stories told as the world is understood through new eyes. And as my children change from glory to glory, I hope that I am changing as well -in spite of the sameness. Not in ways that can be measured and marked on a doorframe, but in the more essential ways, those which are invisible to the eye.
i hope i remember this time
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.