Only moments after recovering from labor, I snapped my first picture of my son. I wanted to capture the sweet swollen face of the little guy who’d been kicking me for the past several months.
Since then it’s been a non-stop array of my clicking iPhone and flashing SLR.
Whether it was his first bath, first smile or first solid meal, I’ve had a camera in his face. Until recently, I didn’t see anything wrong with my constant shutter action. After all, I wasn’t alone. We all take pictures of our kids. We text them to our friends, post them on our Facebook wall, and place them in positions of prestige high on our mantels. I justified my pic-sanity because I knew the memories would be preserved.
However, that all changed a few weeks ago during an outing to the Kansas City Aquarium.
With my trusty camera in hand, we entered the aquamarine world of fish, sharks and stingrays. More than anything, I was excited to capture Alden’s amazed face as he watched foreign creatures swim inches in front of him.
When Alden looked interested in his finned friends, I’d snap a pic. When he was more captivated by a crack in the floor, I’d reposition him in front of a large fish tank and snap another. I clicked, clicked, clicked my way through the entire exhibition.
When I was done, I realized that these “memories” I’d saved were never actually made. They were phony and forced. As my family’s resident photographer, it was my fault. In my frenzy to take the perfect photo, I’d forgotten to actually interact with my son.
I skipped over savoring the experience and went straight to the keepsake. And that can’t happen.