This post: Dear Parents, The Ordinary Moments Matter the Most
The other day, I was in one of my “I need to organize my life” moods (which, by the way, doesn’t happen very often these days), and I stumbled upon a few photo albums of my kids when they were babies and toddlers.
As I sat on my bed Indian-style rummaging through the now slightly tattered pages of the albums, I was struck by the vast amount of photographs my husband and I had taken of our kids doing… well, everything.
We captured the big moments like when my oldest daughter was learning how to walk, when my son finally got the hang of picking up Cheerios with his tiny fingers and that day my middle daughter realized that when she pushed off with her feet, she could make the walker move which gave her a whole new world to explore on her own.
But, there were also dozens and dozens of other pictures where we captured seemingly ordinary moments, like the rare occasion when all three of my kids were sound asleep in the car, the silly expressions on their faces when they watched their favorite television show and them playing joyfully in the tub while they splashed with their toys.
In some ways, those moments with my kids feel like they happened just a moment ago; so vivid and clear that if I close my eyes tight enough, I can still hear the sound of the wheels of the walker whizzing across my kitchen floor or the sound of them sipping loudly on their sippy cups as they watched their favorite TV show. Yet, other moments are a blur. I can barely recollect them ever happening, perhaps because of the exhaustive fog of motherhood that enveloped me in those early days.
After sifting through pictures for over an hour, it hit me how few pictures I have of the ordinary moments of my kids’ teen years.
I mean, sure, like all involved, loving parents we have tons of pictures of the big moments and milestones, like when they were learning to drive, got their driver’s license, went on their first date, and when they were all dressed up for prom. Every special big moment is captured and I’m grateful for that.
But, for some reason, as our kids grew older, we didn’t take quite as many pictures of the everyday, seemingly unmemorable moments of their lives. And, now… I wish I had.
Dear parents of teens, in the end, it’s the ordinary moments that matter the most…
Someday, when the house is quiet, when your kids have moved out and started lives of their own, when their bedrooms are spotless (imagine that), when there isn’t a reason to pick them up late at night or scramble to get dinner on the table because you have to make it to practice on time, you’ll be clinging to the memories of those simple, unadorned moments.
Grab hold of those raw, unpretentious, authentic moments. Take pictures of them – no matter how messy or unfiltered or ridiculous or casual. Because in the end, I think you’ll come to find that it’s the ordinary moments that matter the most.
Take a picture of your son or daughter studying with piles of books and papers and their laptop scattered across their bed.
Take a picture of them sprawled out on the couch with crumbs on their shirt watching their favorite Netflix show.
Take a picture of them sleeping, listening to music, laughing at silly videos and pulling away in the car on a Friday night.
Sneak a picture of them (or, ask if it’s okay if you think your teen might freak out) when they first wake up and when they’re trudging off to bed.
Take a picture of them when they’re deep in thought, reading a book or trying to figure out what to wear on a date.
Quietly take a picture of them eating their favorite dinner, making a snack in the kitchen or standing in front of the refrigerator as they stare for minutes hoping something they’re in the mood to eat magically appears.
Take a picture of them hanging out with their friends, the pile of shoes by the backdoor, your messy kitchen when they’ve made themselves a midnight snack and their slightly disgusting bedroom.
Take a picture of their bathroom sink covered with make-up and empty deodorant bottles and globs of sticky toothpaste.
Take a picture of them on their good days, their bad days and every day in between.
Because one day, as silly as it sounds, these memories will matter. You may even long for them and wish you could go back to soak it in and feel it all again just one more time.
If anything at all, the pictures will remind you of how far you’ve come as a parent, how far your kids have come and how far life has taken you together.
They will remind you of how much you cared, how hard you tried, how much you loved (and, still do), how much you treasure the past and how grateful you feel to have raised such amazing human beings through the important, big milestones of their lives as well as the ordinary moments of their daily lives.
Take pictures. Take lots of pictures. Because one day when you’re reminiscing about days gone by, you’ll want those pictures to remind you of how beautiful and precious your journey was.