Taking pictures of the kids when they’re not looking

I take a lot of pictures of the kids, too many, probably, but most of them aren’t anything special. One or both of them is standing there, standing still, posing, or they’re making a funny face or giving each other rabbit ears, or they’re holding up a hand to block the lens, like they’re a movie star and I’m a paparazzo.

That’s why I like this picture of Thing 2, who’s 6.

We were on vacation, and at that moment, his mind was someplace else. He wasn’t posing. He wasn’t being silly. He was just being himself. I noticed the moment, leaned over the rail and took a picture. Once he realized I was there, he posed for a proper picture, but it wasn’t the same. He wasn’t being himself. 

Of the hundreds of pictures I have of him at 6, this crooked, slightly out-of-focus snapshot may be the best.

 

 

I should remember to forget my camera more often

Yesterday was Parents’ Day at our daughter’s YMCA day camp. Usually, she takes the camp bus, but I drove her, and we went canoeing.

The lake where we went canoeing, taken on a tour of the camp a year ago.

It was a cool, sunny morning. The camp is next to a lake, and there were probably 100 other parents on the beach, noshing on bagels and pastries and waiting with their kids for a turn on the water.

While we stood barefoot in the sand, my 11-year-old pointed out girls she knew, and I thought: I forgot my camera.

It was a bad feeling. I thought, here we are, having this little adventure, and we won’t have any pictures.

Then, I remembered something I’d told my mom years ago, when Thing 1 was a baby and Mom wouldn’t stop taking pictures of her:

This isn’t a photo-op. Put down the camera and just enjoy yourself.

If our house was on fire, and I could save one thing, I’d save our pictures and videos. I forget how fast our kids are growing up until I see an old picture, or not even one that’s particularly old. Pictures from last summer or even Christmas remind me how much they’ve changed.

There aren’t any pictures to prove it, but we had a good time. We were on the water for maybe 5 minutes. Thing 1 insisted on steering. We made a wide circle and, miraculously, didn’t capsize or crash into any other parents. When it was over, I gave her a quick hug and kiss — nothing too embarrassing — and went to work.

Walking back to the car, I thought, I should remember to forget my camera more often.

Life isn’t just a photo opportunity

Today was Parents Day at our daughter’s YMCA day camp. Usually, she takes the camp bus, but I drove her this morning, and we went canoeing.

The lake where we went canoeing (picture taken when we toured the camp in April).

It was a good morning — kind of overcast, but that was OK, because it kept things cool. The camp is next to a lake, and there were probably 100 other parents on the beach, noshing on bagels and pastries and waiting with their kids for a turn on the water. While we stood barefoot in the sand, my 10-year-old pointed out girls she knew (including “the mean one”) and, suddenly, I remembered:

I forgot my camera.

For someone who enjoys taking pictures as much as I do, that’s a bad feeling. I thought, here we are, my daughter and me, having this little adventure, and we won’t have any pictures.

Then, I remembered something I’d told my mom years ago, when our daughter was still a baby and Mom wouldn’t stop taking pictures of her:

This isn’t a photo op. Put down the camera and just enjoy yourself.

I treasure our family pictures. If the house was on fire, and I could save one thing, I’d save our pictures and videos. It’s easy to forget how fast our kids are growing up until I come across an old picture, or not even an old picture. Pictures remind me how much they’ve changed since last summer, since Christmas, even.

Still, I should remember to forget my camera more often and just enjoy myself.

Before we pushed out into the water, one of the camp counselors called out, “Smile!” and snapped our picture. (Do digital cameras snap?) The Y does a good job of posting pictures on the camp website. I told my wife. She’ll want to see it, because she couldn’t be there, but I was.