Thursday, October 22, 2009

Athazagoraphobia - The Fear of Forgetting

I take a lot of pictures. I've captured more than 18,000 images of my children and our lives in the last 12 months alone. (And those are just the ones I've KEPT after editing). In the "olden days" that would have been the equivalent of more than two rolls of 35mm film taken EVERY day. Can you imagine? My husband jokes that I could print all my pictures and put them together to make a flip book that would essentially play a video of our life as the pages were turned.

I realize that's a lot of pictures and many would say I have issues. Which I'm not arguing, but I take a LOT of pictures with good reasons.
1.) I enjoy the art of capturing life's precious moments. I often challenge myself to see things differently and take MANY pictures of the same thing in an effort to get one REALLY good one. Most of my photos are taken just to freeze that moment in time so I can remember it for years to come.
2.) I desperately strive to document each new milestone and the tiniest of quirks for each of my children through pictures (the way Alex squints his eyes when he's smiling REALLY big or the short lived comfort Nathaniel found in sniffing his blanket when he was tired or upset).
3.) Not only that but photos are an easier/less space consuming way to hold onto the little things I adore from their childhood like some of my favorite outfits, the toys they loved most or the adorable giraffe print swing they found comfort in.

Well apparently not everyone gets that about me. Twice in the last 24 hours I have been instructed to put my camera down and just live life. Just live life? I thought that's what I was doing. In fact I'm trying to soak it all in and hold onto it for dear life which is why I'm IN the midst of life 100%, flashing away. I had never thought about the fact that I might actually be missing something by trying so hard not to miss anything. That's seriously disturbing.

Truth be told, I have the world's worst memory and I'm afraid if I don't capture it on film, with time stamp technology/data to remind me of the particulars, that I'll forget the good stuff. That terrifies me. I don't want to forget a thing.

But as desperate as I am to create a scrapbook of my life through pictures, I think what I fear most of all is forgetting what I can't document in pictures or on DVD. The little details. The smell of my babies' skin. The softness of their hair. The way their tiny hands fit in mine, or how cute their toes wiggle when I tickle them. That's the stuff I'm seeing, soaking in, and cherishing out from behind the camera. At least I'm trying to.

I'm not sure if it's a good or bad thing that my kids will inevitably remember me as the woman behind the camera taking pictures of everything they ever did. But I do hope that they also remember that I put the camera down to snuggle them on the couch cushions on the floor, chase them into their bedrooms to hide from the monsters, and give them the world as often as possible.


Sarah said...

I understand this about you, and fear the same. That's why I'm glad you always have a camera in hand, you capture moments in my life that I'm afraid to forget! I love this about you! Thank you for capturing parts of my life in your photos!

Tifkota said...

NEVER put your camera down! You DO live life, and you DO partake in precious moments with your babies. When they are grown and in college, you will be able to sit and go through snapshots of so many wonderful memories. Those pictures will remind you of all the things your brain dropped. And you will be able to still feel the warmth of their tiny hands and kisses. You'll see pictures of Alex playing in the water and hear his shrieks of joy. You'll see a picture of Nate in some get-up and recall that he was a pirate-cowboy off to slay the monsters.
My dear friend, you have a gift for photography, and you capture more than just portraits. We are very thankful you are documenting memories, and for that matter, our history. Love you!!! xoxo

Heidi said...

Shana, In everything we struggle to find balance. If you feel a balance in your life between the amount you "hide" behind the camera and the amount you don't, then so be it! I appreciate seeing the world through your camera. Being a photo bug myself I feel your conviction for capturing every moment. I do look back at pictures sometimes and wonder "Where am I?" Now that Chloe has gotten older I am starting to train her to take good photos. That means I will start to seem like I was in attendence at things!

Kameron said...

I do an update of my son (and soon daughter) every month so I can remember all of the little things he was doing at each stage! I love reading back over the months and seeing what I have already forgotten. Surprisingly it is a lot! I wish I had started it earlier but have done it for the last 10 months and I love it.

My favorite thing from when I was little was my mom telling me stories of things I did or said, so I plan to put all of the updates in a book for my son and daugher to see their lives captured for them!