Monday, January 21, 2013

Step Away From the Camera


Saturday was a beautiful day for skiing. Luckily for the skiers in our family, we were in New Hampshire for just that purpose. Unfortunately, the only competent adult skier in the house was in bed all day with a nasty head cold. Because I'm useless on the mountain, I had to think of other ways to entertain two kids in a rental house and keep them quiet so the sick one could rest. We had a quiet morning of reading and Pac-Man, then went out to lunch and made a grocery store run. After that, I announced that it was fresh air time.

I had been looking forward to going outdoors all day and already had a plan in mind. There is a hilly snowmobile path through the woods behind our rental house. I had visions of hiking through the snow-covered trees with my enthusiastic children, getting my heart rate up, and stopping to snap photos as we went along. Rationally, I knew we'd stop every five feet to throw snow, eat snow or roll in snow.

It started off well enough.

two children running through snowy woods

But the little one was soon lying on the ground, protesting that she didn't want to go any farther. Soon I had one kid running away from me toward the house

little girl running away in the snowy woods

and one running away from me in the opposite direction to explore the woods.

boy walking into the snow and trees

The elder, more compliant one and I turned around and caught up with Little Miss Gets Her Way, and I abandoned any hope of outdoor fun. I underestimated them, especially the little one. They found a shorter path to explore, ate fistfuls of snow, and had a good-natured snowball fight before we reached the yard. When I suggested they make a snowman, they each began to roll a giant ball in the wet, sticky snow.

I plopped down in the snow with my camera, watching and waiting to capture the construction. Both kids asked me to help. I declined, telling them I planned to take some photos and reminding them that my gloves weren't waterproof. Only after my son suggested three times that I could walk up to the house and borrow my husband's waterproof gloves did it dawn on me that making a snowman with my kids might actually be more fun than taking photos of my children making a snowman.

I tucked my camera into my coat and zipped it safely inside. I stomped up the hill to the house, exchanged my gloves for some practical ones, and headed back to the construction area for directions. The project manager directed me to lift the moderately large snowball onto the giant snowball and to roll a smaller ball for the head. He assigned us minions to find appropriate sticks for limbs and stones for eyes while he carefully sculpted the face.

boy with snowman

To my surprise, both kids embraced my idea to add grass dreadlocks and left me in charge of coiffing. I didn't take a single photo until our mustachioed, dreadlocked, French-American snowman named Fred was complete. It was the most fun I'd had with my kids in ages.

I love photography, and my children are my favorite subjects. On Saturday, I was trying out a new lens my parents gave me for Christmas. I was having a great time taking photos before the snowman project began, but I had a fabulous time with my kids once I put away the camera. I don't want my children to only remember Mom watching and taking photos from the sidelines. I need to remember that it's more important to make the memories than merely to record the memories.

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  1. Yep, because those moments are gone in faster than a flash on a camera. Great post!

  2. Fred is a pretty cool looking snowman!

    BTW- Found you on the Brandigirlblog site post about social media icons. I had to right click on her link to download her icon set and selected 'Open in New Window'. Then the download box came up for me.

  3. Looks like you had a great time together and I'm sure your children had the most fun doing it together with you!