Today has mostly consisted of breaking up sibling fights, cleaning up messes, trying to catch snippets of news, and keeping the kids quiet while Dad works upstairs. Patience is running low, my coffee is cold, and this is our new normal…for now.
This is not a day, or even a week, that makes me think to get out my camera and snap pictures. (For one, we haven’t combed our hair in days.) But I was also reminded this week that we’re living through something historic.
One day our kids are going to ask what it was like when the virus swept our nation and we were all called home. I even found myself wishing that we had a subscription to an actual newspaper so that I could tuck away the news clippings and wondered what my kids would actually remember of this.
Then I reached for my camera.
We can document these days for our children and tell them the story with something better than words.
Maybe your day sounds a lot like mine or maybe staying at home bickering with your kids sounds like a luxury you’re not afforded. Maybe instead, you pack up your lunch and leave before the sun to an essential job. Maybe you’re on the front lines of this and can’t come home. Maybe snapping pictures right now is not something you can do or you would even want to do if you could.
To you, I can only say thank you.
But if you do happen to be home right now, cooped up with the ones you love the most (and who also drive you the most crazy), I hope you’ll dust off your camera. I know these days can seem to unravel right before our eyes…the dishes strewn in the kitchen, the toys on the floor, and the diapers tossed aside. It’s not pretty. Some days it’s not even enjoyable.
But don’t think about that. Instead, think like a journalist. Tell the story and try not to intervene.
In fact, tonight, before you go to sleep, put your camera on your nightstand so that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, you’ll remember that you’ve decided to document the day. (If you don’t have a camera, then use your phone.)
Snap a picture of your son brushing his teeth (after being reminded 5 times) and your daughter watching Daniel Tiger in her favorite corner of the couch. Take a picture of your youngest standing in her crib, waiting to be lifted out and your husband working on the laptop.
Capture the TV flashing the morning headlines and the coffee machine working overtime. Gather pictures of them Facetiming Grandma and building block towers. Document the frustrating homeschool hours and the late night storytimes. Show off the all day PJs and the movie marathons.
Gather your story piece by piece. It won’t look exactly like mine. I doubt it will even look the same tomorrow. But that’s the point.
Soon, hopefully soon, all of this will pass. Spring of 2020, when we all stayed inside, together and apart, will become a memory. As with most memories, the details will become fuzzy with time. But not for you.
You’ll know exactly what Disney princess was on your daughter’s nightgown and how many teeth your son had lost. You’ll have a record of the details, of the chaos, of the frustration, of the lingering days, of the love…
if you’ll just pick up your camera.
Until Next Time,