the other day, aida cooed a special little noise that she makes occasionally. it’s a gurgly little series of “hoo hoos” that melts my heart. it would probably melt your heart too. i listened to her with a melty heart, and suddenly realized that this might be the last time she ever makes that sound, at which point my eyes got a little melty, too.
there’s this myth in the current parenting paradigm – i’ll call it “the instagram effect.” (catchy, no? points if you thought that it sounded like the title of a big bang theory episode.) this myth is that it is somehow possible to record every wonderful thing your child does that you will miss when they stop doing it. it’s subconscious, of course; no one would admit to actually thinking that. but it’s easy to see why we start to believe it, surrounded as we are by photos and videos and statuses and blogs (like this one) filled up with an exhaustive inventory of other people’s memories. we snatch up our camera phones at every turn; the mantra of parenthood becomes “get her to do it again!”
but, parenting isn’t about “again” … it’s about now. catching the memory must be secondary to making the memory, and that means that a lot of memories will go uncaught, released like balloons into the sky, never to be seen or thought of again. my mind’s ear has already lost the exact inflection of aida’s sweet little coo from yesterday, and i didn’t catch it. the joy in moments that will slip away is bittersweet; the air fills with the scent of impermanence.
one of the reasons i am a photographer is that photography is an effective weapon against forgetfulness. professional photography is a particularly efficient weapon against forgetfulness, since a good photographer will see the details that you didn’t even realize you’d want to remember. a good photographer will sense the expressions that hold a deeper place in your heart. a good photographer will feel shimmering layers of relationship and emotion through the light and air. a good photographer doesn’t turn your life into art; they show you the art that lives in your life.
it took about 45 seconds of perusing the blog of weeno photography to know that i needed to hire them. ashley offers a unique service that she calls a “truth session,” in which she spends 3 hours with your family doing … whatever it is you do. making memories, in your very own house. with your very own mess, even. (or however much is left of it after your mad cleaning session the night before. wouldn’t want to be too truthful.)
on a sunny weekday morning in july, ashley came over and photographed our breakfast, our process of getting the kids ready to go out, a sweet roommate interaction, a walk to the park, and naptime, all very typical occurrences around here. i’m so grateful to have had this chance to make some memories, without the pressure to catch them. i know that many memories will fly away, but that only makes the ones that remain more precious.