While I’m certainly no professional photographer, I tend to take approximately one boatload of pictures. Monkey is doing something cute? Take a picture. Crying? Take a picture. Sleeping soundly? Take a picture. Date night? Take a picture. Actually showered and did my hair? Take a picture. You get the idea.
Recently, however, I was – gasp – without my phone (a.k.a. camera). I was laying on the floor in our hallway, playing with our sweet daughter. She was sitting on my stomach in nothing but a diaper and smiling in her perfect little way. Then, all at once, she laid her head on my chest and snuggled up to me. My heart melted and I instinctively reached for my phone, though it wasn’t in my pocket.
At nine months old, my daughter isn’t much of a snuggler anymore. I miss those newborn snuggles when, without much effort on my part, she’d fall asleep in my arms or on my chest. So when she snuggled up to me and just laid on my chest, perfectly content to be there, I ached for a picture, for a way to remember this moment forever. When I realized my phone was a room away, I decided to leave it there and, instead, enjoy the moment.
Occasionally she’d sit up and look around. I’d make a goofy face and she’d smile. We must have played there for nearly half an hour, and it was the most fulfilling half-hour I’ve had in quite some time. We went back and forth between tickles, goofy faces, and snuggles and I simply soaked it all in.
Even though I have no pictures to remember those moments by, what I have is sweeter: memories. A picture is only worth a thousand words, but the time I get to spend with my daughter, the times of smiles and snuggles, are worth far more than a thousand words. Those times are worth more than the effort I spend trying to capture the picture, smile ‘right’ for the selfie, or take a shot that isn’t blurry as she moves about, discovering the world around her. More often than I care to admit I find myself doing those same things and getting annoyed that she won’t just sit still so I can get a good picture of her outfit or smile.
As we hung out in the hallway that night, none of that mattered. The only important thing was the time we spent together and the memories we were making, just as life should be.