I’ve been going through all the pictures on my phone lately, trying to free up some storage. The picture count has gotten up to 9,664 (UGH, I KNOW), and I just keep adding more cloud storage, figuring I’ll deal with them later. So I finally started deleting some pictures, getting rid of duplicates or whatever pictures aren’t worth saving.
As I scrolled through the pictures trying to figure out what to delete, some were easy decisions. The random screen shots that I took to remember tiny details, a funny picture from Instagram that I saved to send to Tyler.
But when I got to the pictures of the girls, I found it hard to delete any of them. I couldn’t quite figure out which pictures were “bad” and which ones were “good.”
I have a lot of pictures with the girls in mid-motion, blurry images of them running around. I try to capture pictures where they are both still and smiling, but it just doesn’t happen that often.
But as I’ve looked back over those pictures, the blurry ones are more true-to-life than any of the others. The pictures where they are running or jumping or “hug-tackling” their sister are the ones that show who they really are. These are the pictures that show life as it really is.
And I can’t bring myself to delete the blurry pics, because those show our real, everyday life.
I’m redefining what a good picture is…the good pictures aren’t the ones where we’re all smiling and looking at the camera. The good pictures are the ones that capture the chaos of our life during this season. The beauty and the mess. The tired eyes of weary parents and the blurry-streaked motion of busy toddlers.
And the nice, posed, everyone smiling pictures that I DID somehow manage to capture? All I remember with those is how stressed I was in trying to get a good picture of all of us. I remember begging and pleading with them, fighting to hold them still, performing all kinds of antics to get them to smile and look at the camera.
Not the best memories, really.
And of course, I’m glad we have those pictures too, but it makes me wonder: What’s the point of the pictures anyway? Why do we take them?
The point is not to portray a smiling, happy, have-it-all-together family. The point is to capture a glimpse of life as it is right now, in this season, so I can remember what it was like when I look back later.
The point is to capture the beauty and the chaos of this season, because all of it is worth remembering.
Those blurry shots that at first glimpse appear to be throw-away pictures to delete are actually the ones that most accurately depict life as it is right now. They reveal our lives in a way that I want to remember.
And as far as getting a good, smiling, polished family pic? I want those too, but I’ll leave it to the professionals so I can focus on simply capturing real life. We get professional pictures once a year, because even with grumpy toddlers, professional photographers have some kind of magic that allows them to get at least one amazing shot that is worthy of putting on the wall.
So the rest of the year, I can simply capture moments as they are, the real-life motion and movement that is life with toddlers. I don’t have to wait for the perfect pose or ideal moment. I can just take a few pictures and let them be what they are.
So let go of the pressure to capture this season perfectly. Let go of trying to always take well-lit photos with smiling children, to have the perfectly cute picture. Let it be exactly what it is, and let the pictures be reminders of every part of this season.