Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Take the Shot

I recently read somewhere that good photographers have a motto they work by--"Take the shot." In other words, don't be afraid to get the picture--just click away without holding back and see what great results you can get. Too often those of us with a camera in our hands hesitate clicking the button because we are waiting for the perfect shot--the exact pose, the flawless smile, the textbook moment. Somewhere in the midst of our reluctance, the perfect photo passes by us, and we end up with disappointing results. Sound familiar?

Instead, we should take advantage of the moment and simply take the shot. The lighting doesn't have to be just right; the clothing doesn't have to be impeccable; the grouping doesn't have to be staged. We just have to push the button.

I know for me, the first step is getting my camera out in the first place. I've somehow convinced myself that something absolutely amazing, unique, or hilarious has to be happening for it to be a camera-worthy experience. Thus, I've missed a lot of great memories by simply leaving the camera behind, or not pulling it out.

The next important key is for the camera batteries to be charged. I hesitate to count the number of times I've pulled out my camera only to find it's dead. Ugh! I hate when that happens.

But the most important part of it all is simply to take the shot, to find the miracle of life in that one certain moment and not be afraid to push the button. It's to stop waiting for just the right time or place or situation and just soak up the here and now, because one day, those captured moments will mean everything.

That's how I feel about motherhood.

It's easy to let life pass me by each day without taking the time and effort to pull out my camera, so to speak. And if I do sort through the stress and busyness of every day life to see the great moments, it's then I find all to often my batteries are not fully charged, and I still miss the most important parts. I find I'm not living in the joy of the moment; instead, I'm rushing through each day, sticking to schedules and deadlines, fulfilling my ever-growing list of responsibilities and missing the whole point.

That's when I look at my children around the dinner table and wonder when they grew up. When did my ten-year-old get to be so beautiful and mature? When did my eight-year-old start using manners (actually, I'm still waiting for that one)? When did my five-year-old get to be so smart? When did my three-year-old stop talking with that adorable little lisp? When and how did this all happen? And where was I?

I was waiting too long to take the shot. I was waiting for things to settle down a little bit, for life to get less hectic. And in the meantime, the most precious photo ops passed right by me, and I found I missed them entirely. I am left with an empty album because I can't get those moments back.

I've decided photographers life by a very wise motto. And in the past few years I've tried to adopt it. I'm not perfect at it, but I try to remind myself every day of how fragile and fleeting life really is, and then I tell myself to soak up every single moment so it doesn't escape my heart and my memory.

When my children were little, I decided to never walk into my their bedrooms when they're sleeping without taking a moment to simply watch, to take in the miracle of each child, and then to lean in close and kiss them one more time. That's a shot I never want to think I missed.

Now I am working on dropping my own priorities so I can focus more clearly on my children and their pressing needs. When one of my children ask me to read a book, no matter how busy I am, I try to do it--to not put it off, because inevitably I will forget and then I will have missed the chance to snuggle close and share someone's wonderful imagination with a child I love. And one day they'll stop asking me. I hope to get in lots of shots before then.

When my children come home from school and have a hundred silly, meaningless stories to share about their day, I try hard to take the time to listen. To drop what I am doing and look them in the eye and really listen, because I know I will miss the endless chatter and laughter of children one day when they are all grown up and don't race home from school anymore.

So, all in all, I'm hoping to stop letting the simply joys of motherhood pass by me unnoticed. To stop waiting for life to offer the perfect moment before I take time to notice and enjoy every day life as a mother. In other words, I'm simply going to take the shot!


Julie Thurgood Summerhays said...

Love it Lori - I am ALWAYS trying harder to "be in the moment" more, and I am sure I will never perfect it! Thanks for the good and sweet reminders!!!

Taffy and Tony said...

Thanks for the reminder. I feel like I have much to improve on in this area, and time is going fast, so I better get to it immediately!

The Martinez Fam said...

Wow. Thanks, Lor. I loved this post--it's always good to be reminded what's most important.

Parker-Delgado Family said...

Great thought, Lori. I really appreciate it. I have thought a lot about that since our new addition to our family. I look at our older kids and I know how fast the time has gone by. It has made me hold Paisley more and just play with her. I feel so blessed to have a chance to do it again--and to have the opportunity to stay home with a baby. That has been an unbelievable opportunity. I am realizing just how much I missed with my others being at work. Other people got to catch so many of those moments. So, we all learn. Thanks again for the thought!

Brian and Rebecca Nate said...

I have tried so hard to try and remember every moment with my kids, but you never do. It's sad how fast you forget. Thanks for helping me to remember what's important.