I have taken more pictures in the last three weeks than I typically take in 6 months. This is because my children have been home. I take more pictures of my children than I do of anything else in existence. They are the most photographed nouns in my house. And with that comes a huge amount of joy.
I take pictures of things that I want to remember or want to share with others. The 100+ pictures I took of my children unwrapping presents or helping in the kitchen or sitting down at the table or building legos or playing basketball is testament to just how much I want to remember them. And I have shared these pictures with my partner, with my extended family, and even with Twitter.
And yet, I think the real reason I take so many pictures of my family is that they are often not with me. After (almost) three weeks of being home, my children will be headed back to their respective schools (one elementary, one middle, and one high school). While I am happy that they will be able to see their friends and I will be able to get back into a routine with work, there is a sadness there too. I am sad that I will not be able to see them in the middle of the day. I am sad that I will not be able to pop three batches of popcorn and start on a movie marathon. I am sad that I will not be pulled out of my own head for long enough to consider the immediate needs of those I love.
And there will likely be no extra pictures of them today. It is just a regular Tuesday, the kind in which my children make their own choices. And I remind myself that this is a good thing. I remind myself that them going to school will (eventually) have benefits for their lives. I know that they will be taking their own pictures, and making their own moments that need remembering.
They are real people, and these hundreds of pictures I took are testament to that. They do not capture some idyllic life that is free from conflict. Rather, they tell the story of 3 beautiful creatures En Media Res. It is the middle of their beginning, with all of the complexity and struggle that comes along with. And while I mourn for the pictures that will not be taken because they are out of the house today, I rejoice for the snapshots I have of who they were heading into 2022.
I understand them just a little bit better after this “Winter Break.” I understand myself a little bit better too. I should probably take more pictures.