Growth Spurts: Photos and Perspectives
Sometimes I have a hard time deciding what to write for this monthly column. It’s not that I’m not still growing through motherhood; I think that motherhood just keeps me so busy and scattered that it’s often difficult to nail down my thoughts and turn them into something worth reading.
This month I was fighting writer’s block, so I decided to skim through photos on my Facebook page to see if that would spark something. As many of you know, those “Facebook Memories” can get you right in the heart sometimes – showing you a photo you’d forgotten about and that provokes a big “Awww!” and sometimes a re-sharing. And if you’ve done like I did and started perusing your oldest photo albums, you know how easily you can get sucked into nostalgia and thoughts of wondering where the time has gone.
I pretty much watched my kids grow up all over again through those photos. I smiled to myself as I remembered circumstances surrounding certain pictures. I marveled at how much my children have changed over the years. I felt surprise at things I had forgotten (things I just knew I’d never forget). And I wanted to jump right into nearly all of the photos so that I could kiss my kids’ sweet little faces and hear their tiny voices again!
It would be all too easy to let sadness overcome me while poring over these snapshots of our lives. I’m already a bit of an emotional mess as my firstborn prepares to graduate from high school next month, so feelings of reflection and sentimentality are more readily available to me than ever. But this time I decided to be very intentional about the way that I looked at the pictures. I decided to look upon them with thankfulness – thankfulness for each smile, each silly face, each moment, each and every memory that we’ve been able to make together over all these years.
Perspective makes such a difference. Sure, I could mourn how quickly life is moving or feel sad because my babies will never be babies again. I could wallow in regret over wasted time, missed opportunities, or things I took for granted. I could dwell in disappointment that I can’t travel back in time. OR…I could simply enjoy remembering all the sweet times we’ve had together and be thankful for every one of them.
Two of my sons have only been part of our family for two and a half years. They are 12 and 15 years old. We only have one picture of each of them prior to four years ago. One. And we only have that because they were taken for their government IDs in Colombia. We have exactly zero photos of them as babies and toddlers. How’s that for perspective?!
Parents, let’s be thankful for what we have, when we have it. And take lots and lots of pictures along the way!