We took an impromptu trip to the St. Louis Zoo on Memorial Day. We left our house around 2 p.m. and drove through a sprinkling all the way into the city. When we arrived we used our membership to acquire tickets to the train, carousel, and the sea lion show. The zoo was not crowded and the temperature was perfect. When we boarded the train we couldn’t find two seats together so Daddysaurus and The Bear sat close to the engine and Baybay and I found a spot in the back. As the trained pulled out of the station, I saw a perfect photo opp of Baybay enjoying the train with some luscious greenery in the background. I reached for my phone only to find it was in the stroller at the front of the train with the guys. Aw, man. A whole train ride with an adorable toddler and me without a camera- what was I to do? A wave of disappointment swept over me. Then I heard that sweet, little laugh and saw those big, sparkling, brown eyes twinkling up at me. Suddenly, the disappointment washed away and relief poured over me. I can’t take any pictures. I don’t have to take any pictures! I can just be here with my daughter.
With the rain I had opted to leave our good camera at home, but I always snap shots with my phone. We’ve become accustomed to taking pictures of everything: trips to the playground, meals at fast food restaurant, playing in the front yard. We have family that lives out of town and so we use social media to include them in our lives. At least, initially that was the idea. But now, it’s borderline ridiculous how many pictures I take of my kids. I was organizing and backing up my laptop today and realized am drowning in photos I never view or share with anyone.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE taking pictures. It’s becoming quite a hobby for me and I enjoy using my children as subjects. But going to the zoo doesn’t have to be a light study. And it’s not something out of the ordinary I need to document in the history of their lives. It was really nice today to not look at my children through a view-finder or a phone screen.
This summer I will schedule “No Photo Outings” for our family. I will give myself permission to leave my camera or phone at home or in my purse. I will not worry that I am going to miss something. I will not miss something because I will be present. And when we do something awesome like take a dolphin cruise or snuggle on the couch with Itzie or Gee Gee, you can be sure I will capture those moments on camera! Like chocolate chip cookies or reality TV, it’s all about moderation. Photographing with intention, I will come up for air from behind the lens.
How often do you photograph your children? Would you schedule a “No Photo Outing?” Tell us all about it in the comments section below!