Focusing on each other

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Focusing on each other

“Quick! Take the picture!,” I shouted at my husband as he struggled to simultaneously work my smartphone, maneuver through the Instagram app, and juggle our stroller.

“It didn’t work,” he admitted regretfully, “I must have hit something.”

Frustrated, I tried to explain to him how to get the app open again and snap another picture before our two year-old daughter went into complete meltdown mode.

We’d spent the last hour navigating one of Kansas City’s most beautiful landmarks, Union Station, decorated for Christmas and hosting a multitude of holiday events for local families. We’d registered to visit with Santa and tour “Rudy”, the locomotive for the Kansas City Southern Railroad.

Planning the evening for our little family of three, soon to be a family of four, I had visions of a smiling daughter on Santa’s lap, thrilled squeals at the sight of the train and family memories to cherish when our daughter is grown and Christmas no longer holds the same magic for her.

Except for a smiling picture with Santa (she refused to sit on his lap for the requisite picture), all of my hopes were realized. It was a beautiful evening in Kansas City with mild weather, lots of other families out making memories and, most importantly, a rare chance for the three of us to get out in the city (we live in a rural area about 45 minutes outside of town) and have some fun together. Our daughter ran to check out all the towering Christmas trees, shrieked with excitement at the sight of the train, and though she didn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap, was very excited to watch “Ho, Ho, Ho” (as she calls him) from a distance.

As I’ve mentioned, it was a wonderful night out as a family and, despite being tired and a little hungry, our daughter never ended up having a meltdown–bless her heart. I, however, almost did. I was so focused on making the night special and on capturing pictures of just how special it was, that I almost ruined it by being so rough on my husband when he couldn’t snap the perfect picture. To his credit, he’s a perfectly capable photographer with our camera, which, due to my oversight, had run out of battery as we waiting in line to see Santa. But he doesn’t have a smartphone and has never used Instagram in his life.

I had taken several pictures of him and our daughter but especially wanted at least one good picture of myself and her to remember this Christmas, her last as our only child, before her little brother arrives in April. My husband tried time and again to capture a good picture, each time with me more frustrated and impatient and dissatisfied with the pictures he was taking. I eventually gave up on getting the picture and we left to eat dinner instead.

When I got home that night and was browsing through the pictures he’d managed to take, I found the picture that you see above. My sweet daughter and I are having a chat in between posing for photos, a quiet little moment together. It is the perfect photograph to capture the night, this special moment in time with my little girl while she still has all my attention. Our little world will be rocked in a few months by the child within my now visibly swelling belly, but for that moment, I was all hers.

During the holidays, I sometimes get too focused on making every moment, every occasion, special and memorable. (I can probably thank my affinity for Pinterest for some of this self-imposed pressure.) But in the end, it’s the moments in between pictures, the moments in between planned outings and craft projects and big family get-together that matter. These are the “more important things” that I hope will guide this blog and myself in the year to come.

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