Thaya had her school pictures taken, and I received the proofs yesterday (thank you Molly, for dropping them off!!). As I was staring at the images of my little girl SMILING at the camera, it hit me. She’s in school. These are her first set of school pictures. I will receive her school pictures every year for the next 14 or so years. And here I am, a professional photographer who cherishes those “everyday moments” and does my best to capture them, pouring over the ridiculous images of her posed in front of a green screen depicting a cartoon background of green grass and a bright blue sky. I have to have them. I have to share them with my family. I had to PICK A PACKAGE. It was torture. But you can rest easy, I decided to go with the digital files so I can print them myself.
I said to Matt, “But I never print anything. What is the point? They are just going to sit on the CD next to my hard drive that contains about 4,000 more pictures of her.”
So, what’s the point?
Documenting the lives of our girls and our family has always been one of my top priorities. Sometimes I feel like I’m a Type-A perfectionist whose face is stuck behind the body of my camera. Sometimes I feel like the only thing my girls are going to remember from their childhood is that I never. put. down. the. camera.
But then we all cuddle on the couch and look through the pictures of our last family vacation. Or we celebrate Brie’s half birthday and want to remember what Thaya was like at that age. Or we want to compare the torture of March with the torture of March past to see what we did to past the time. Or….
I could go on.
The point is, when we want to see the pictures, and remember what it was like, we’re rewarded with images of ourselves that are a genuine reflection of the time. The stories begin to pour out of us, we laugh and giggle and create new memories off of the old ones.
Even today, Thaya was harping me (for the five thousandth time) about one of her long lost stuffed animals that she had been reunited with. Over and over she asks, “who got this for me?!” and may the universe help me, I have no clue. But I remember where we got it, and I tell her the story of where we found “Red Panda” and I end by saying, “you know, I have the pictures from when we bought him, should we look at them later?” And her whole face, her whole body, just glows with excitement.
And I remember that day, and how I felt like I wasn’t interacting with my kids or others in my family. But now I get to look at the images from 2 years ago with my daughter, and create a new memory together.
So what is the point?
I decided to be inspired by Tara Whitney’s Six People Twelve Times and by Ali Edwards’ Project Life. And start a project of my own. I’ve been seriously itching to get back into a routine with the daily picture taking since I found out I was pregnant again, and this seems to be a great way to do it. I ordered a Project Life Kit, and with Tara and Ali as my inspiration, I’m going to head into the world of documetnint our lives once again.
It’s going to be a little different this time. This time I’m going to include the girls and the husband and we’re going to work on this together. We’re all going to recognize the importance of remembering the moments as we’re living them. I fully intend to work on the binder as a family, making it a part of our daily (ok, maybe not daily, let’s be reasonable) routine.
And my biggest goal during this process (other than my attempt to actually get some pictures of myself with my family)? To get the pictures OFF OF THE COMPUTER. It’s great that I have all of these beautiful images of my family, but what good are they doing stuck on my hard drive? Remember when I almost lost all of my pictures? It is still pretty fresh in my memory. I thought at that time, “My goodness, why haven’t I printed any of these?”
And still, 7 months later, I’ve done nothing to print them out.
But that is going to change. Because by devoting just a little time every day to writing a few words about what we did together, we’ll have the memories for a lifetime. And it won’t just be my perspective, it will be our perspective.
So this is it. The start of our Project Life.