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.

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.

22 thoughts on “I should remember to forget my camera more often

  1. What an awesome mind and heart lurks behind the master of this post. Thank you for the reminder to stop and smell the roses. 🙂

  2. Thank you! The way some people behave you think the only reason they go somewhere is to get pictures/videos. And I’m sooo tired of people whipping out their iPhone to show the latest anytime anywhere.

  3. YES!! Too often, we’re so busy capturing the moment on a camera that we fail to live that moment, and trust me, those moments won’t last forever! Another post chock-full of wisdom — thanks for giving us all something to think about!

  4. I saw your moment at day camp perfectly.

    My kids school does not allow pictures at most events, especially when the kids are little…because they want parents to be present; they do not want the children to perform for a camera but to engage in the work at hand; and finally at our circus club performances..kids on the high wire or the silks feel beautiful, amazing, and far up off the grounds–the reality of a picture can be rather disheartening. We all grumble, sneak a shot or two but know in our hearts the school has a valid point.

    Unfortunately, I am a picture fiend and struggle with this one…..go for you for enjoying the moment.

    1. You know how news organizations sometimes have a “pool” photographer, someone who shoots pictures anyone in the media can use? Maybe schools should do that; hire a crew to shoot the school play or whatever and sell copies cheap.

  5. I still remember the Christmas at my inlaws when my husband’s two brothers and sister all bought video cameras. They were all busy videotapping Christmas but not partaking in it. A video camera was not in our budget with four kids otherwise I imagine we would have been trying ours out as well if we had one.

    My husband and I just watched with amusement as they all tried to videotape at the same time but no one wanted to be in each other’s pictures.

    I think your post was an excellent reminder to “be there!” with our family and friends not trying to preserve every detail in a picture.

  6. My family has been videotaping since I was a little girl and my Aunt had a movie camera. Only, then it was all “Wave for the camera.” There were millions of miles of film of us sitting on the couch waving, but filming is a tradition.

    I’ve continued it, because I have a memory problem and I love to remember by seeing the film. I too though, put the camera down and enjoy the moments as much as I can. With the little cameras now, it’s much easier to not intrude. With the cameras my dad and aunt had, and their bars of four lights, you were blinded.

  7. Exactly. When I see the parents who spend the whole band concert behind their video camera lens, I think “they’re missing the whole thing.” How many people watch those videos later? Great point.

  8. I’m a real shutterbug – and now a video hound. In my defense, I do often turn the videos into little movies and I still watch them. I wish that I had a few videos from my childhood, so I could look back and see what the little me was like. But it’s true that it isn’t the most important thing.

    Sometimes I will stop myself and think the same thing, that I’m sitting back and watching when I should be stepping up and participating. So I turn it off and participate. It’s good to have some balance.

    1. Hi, Skippingstones! We put about half my families home movies on DVD a few years ago, and you’re right. It’s neat seeing what the world was like when I was a kid.

  9. I think you and I have something in common here. The historian part of me craves nostalgia and photos provide that. But I’ve been guilty of being so into recording moments that I fail to enjoy them.

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