At the beginning of our vacation week, the kids and I went to Disneyland with my mom. It’s a fantastic time of year to go, since Disney pulls out all the stops when they decorate for Christmas. I carried my camera around, eager to capture the memories. As we sat on Main Street awaiting the fireworks, I pulled the kids close and my mom took a picture. And then another. And then another. Turns out, it’s awfully hard to capture those moments. No matter how many shots she took, they were never perfect. And what I mean when I say perfect is that they failed to capture the perfectness of the moment, what with someone’s mouth open or eyes distracted, etc.
So I put the camera away. I hoisted M on my shoulders and stood him in the middle of the street when we could the fireworks perfectly over the illuminated Sleeping Beauty castle. I almost couldn’t get him up there; his body is becoming longer than my arms can lift over my head. I fear it might be the last fireworks he saw from this vantage point. When the “snow” began to fall, I balanced as he reached out, over and over, to catch the little bits of white in his hand, proudly showing me when he succeeded. We woke K, who stared blearily for a moment before falling back asleep. That’s right, she fell asleep to fireworks once again. There was no way we would ever capture such wonder on film–and certainly no way I could manage a camera and boy combined–so I just soaked it in. I had tears in my eyes, it was so beautiful.
There were so many things this week to be thankful for: my mom being home, Disneyland at Christmas, a chance to spend time with a friend and her latest (adorable) baby, safe travels, light rain, eighty degree weather, lettuce and carrots and chard and potatoes growing in the garden (not to mention a carpet of fresh green lawn), a day at the spa, a Thanksgiving feast all arriving at the table relatively on time, and wonderful family with which to share it. There are almost no pictures of any of it. It makes me sad in some ways, but I also remember how my camera fails to capture the whole moment, and sometimes when I’m viewing it through my camera, I fail to enjoy the whole moment in the meantime.
I will forget most of these details. I will get around to scrapbooking Thanksgiving 2011 and wonder why I have absolutely no pictures of it. But the few things I will hopefully remember–M’s outstretched hand, the weight of a sleeping K on my shoulder, the relief of sitting at a table with my family in my house with a bountiful feast, the joy of playing dominos all together after it was finished–wilthose little bits are worth a lot more when I spend more time experiencing them and less time trying to capture them. Because captured or not, they’re over and gone just as quick.