Our daughter is traveling abroad on a Gap Year.
My hubby and I were so excited when she called to catch up over video the other day!
We sat side by side on the couch as close as we could to get both our faces in the screen and be able to see hers.
Our girl was walking along the streets of Stockholm, Sweden where she’d traveled with friends for the weekend on a cheap flight from Barcelona. She was talking about remembering how much she loved the cold and that she had to buy a knit cat and fuzzy jacket to stay warm. She kept turning the screen so we could see the cafes and shops that she was passing.
As she talked, I delighted at how cute she looked in her new hat and found myself, rather than listening to what she was saying, rather than being present to her experience, trying to capture that moment with her on the phone by taking a screenshot of her. I kept fumbling with the buttons, checking the screen, and imagining the someday we’d look back at that photo and remember the moment we sat on the couch and had a video call with our girl while she walked the streets of Stockholm.
You could have been right there, right then in that moment, listening to everything your daughter was saying and sharing!
It reminded me of how often I do this.
Rather than being in a moment, I try to capture and hold onto the moment.
Am I the only one who does this? Do you?
Anyway, that moment reminded me of a piece I’d written about this exact subject a couple of years ago for Thrive Global.
I’m sharing it here, so if you’re like me, trying to capture the moment, rather than truly experiencing the moment, I hope this will resonate.
Every day on the way to the kid’s school we used to pass a big, red barn. Boy, did I love the sight of that barn. Every morning as we drove up the hill, with the blue sky and fluffy clouds in the background, I’d think, “Man I have got to get a photo of that barn.” But we were always running late, or my phone was too full, and I just never did. And then one day, on the way to school, a swarm of workers surrounded the barn, and by the next morning, the barn was gone. Gone.
Next year my son will be gone — gone off to college. And two years after that, my daughter will follow suit. The other day my son and our dog, Ed were curled up on the couch — it was a magical moment — “Please let me take a picture,” I asked, and surprisingly he said OK. But once again the screen on my phone was black with the message Cannot Take Photo…
So for the past week, I’ve made a concerted effort to “de-clutter” all the photos on my phone and computer. My phone is so full, it can’t take new photos or even receive voicemail. And my computer, well let’s just say that if my computer wore pants, it would be up several sizes. Both my phone and my computer are backed up; so all I really need to do is delete the 5,147 photos on my phone and the 31,498 photos on my computer. But I worry. What if the backup on the external hard-drive in the fireproof box didn’t really back up all those photos? And what if the second backup external hard-drive in the other fireproof box didn’t work? And what if all those backup discs with the photos melt in some unexpected New Hampshire heatwave?
It would be a disaster.
Those photos are of my kids. My kids in Florida visiting my parents. My kids blowing out their birthday candles. My kids picking apples and petting goats, and studying the dinosaurs at the science museum and swinging on the swings at the park and running down soccer fields and canoeing on lakes and playing dress-up with our much-missed English Mastiff, Meg.
Those photos are our life.
Occasionally my 16-year-old daughter shows me a photo she’s posted on Snapchat. “That’s so cute,” I say. “Save it. Save it.” But she usually just shrugs and casually says, “It’s gone.” Gone. An adorable photo. A precious moment in time. A special memory. Gone. Just like that.
I think of those monks who travel with the Dalai Lama. The monks who spend days bent on their hands and knees creating a beautiful, intricate mandala out of sand. And when the Dalai Lama finally arrives to see their work, he gazes upon their creation and with one sweep of his arm, wipes the entire thing away. God, almighty, I hope someone at least snapped a photo.
I worry that I didn’t take enough photos of my kids when they were little. Now at 16 and 18 they hardly ever let me take their photos and my whole body aches when I think of all those lost moments I failed to capture. I’ll never get them back again.
And then it hits me…
Read the rest over here – Thrive Global