Do you see this picture?
It’s gorgeous, right? The lighting is perfect. My children are clean and color coordinated. Everyone is looking at the camera at the same time. They are even SMILING. My hair isn’t doing anything weird, and my toddler isn’t pulling on my dress. My very talented photographer friend managed to capture a single moment when everyone is doing what they are supposed to do. It’s absolutely beautiful.
Only, this moment didn’t happen.
It never really existed. Yes, my friend is an amazing photographer. She captured the light and colors of summertime in Colorado perfectly. She made my children look practically perfect that day. Only, my kids weren’t interested in sitting still for the camera.
Instead, almost all of our photos from the morning look like this:
Do you see how pretty it could have been? If only my kids would have cooperated?
The thing is, in any given photo, a couple kids WERE cooperating. We’d get the big kids settled and the toddler would get bored. We’d get the toddler to “look at the birdie!” and a big kid would make a face. We’d get all of the boys sitting still (finally) and my little girl would refuse to pose. At any given moment, most of them were doing what they needed to do. And then there’d be a wild card.
Through the course of the series, we had a picture of each child smiling. Just never at the same time. So when my friend sent me the proofs, I asked her a bold question: Can you photo shop these into one happy smiling crowd?
Yes, she could.
You better believe I’ll frame this picture. It will be one we’ll keep on the wall for years. But I also want to take something away from the experience: in the online world, we offer a photoshopped version of our lives. Yet in the day to day, we notice only the one kid throwing off the perfect shot.
It’s no wonder we feel so frustrated with them. We’re always trying to create the photoshopped moment! In reality, there is never a time when every part of our life will go exactly according to plan.
I want to stop noticing the detail that messes up the shot. Instead, I want to notice all the other details that are going right. I want to see the gorgeous lighting, and fully take in the glorious but fleeting Colorado summer. I want to praise the kids who are doing what they were asked to do, and are patiently waiting for their sibling to come around. I want to remember that what I see of others is a composite – the best possible angle pieced together – and that that moment never actually happens for anyone else, either.
I want to stop trying to create something that will never exist, and instead enjoy the life I have.
Photos were taken by another one of our Middle Sisters, Angela Giles, Klocke. See more of her gorgeous work at her website, Love Your Everyday Life.