A Picture in Time

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So last night I went on a little facebook rant because I was mad at my husband. And I really try not to do that. I hate when people air their dirty laundry on facebook. I thought it would be funny since everybody laughs at how many pictures I take and everyone knows that Matt doesn’t. But now I am just overwhelmed with husband bashing guilt. And with “why do I get so mad at my husband for not taking pictures guilt” and with “why was I mad that he got to spend the sparkly dollar when it was my idea” guilt.

I guess I should back up and start at the beginning. The tooth fairy brought Abby a glitter covered 5 dollar bill when she lost her first tooth in February. And she has held on to that money for over 2 months. A couple of weeks ago I asked why she didn’t buy something with it. I expected her to say she was saving it for something. It turns out she was afraid that she couldn’t spend it. We shop at self checkouts a lot because Abby likes to be a “checker outer”. It turns out that she was worried that the sparkly money wouldn’t go through the machine. I reminded her that we could buy something where we handed the money to a person and she was so excited! So we started planning what she might buy with the money.

Then last night after the girls are in bed and Matt and I are getting ready for bed, Matt tells me that he and Abby spent the sparkly 5 dollars at Chick Fil A for breakfast. When they were getting ready for school after Maddy and I had left she came up with the idea so he took her. He pulled up past the window so she could pay for her meal herself. And what did I do? I got mad. Instantly mad. Because he didn’t take a picture. Or at least that’s what I told myself. And we had a little spat about the fact that her spending that money was a special moment and I couldn’t believe that he didn’t take a picture and I totally missed it. And then I found myself mad about a lot of things. Why didn’t he realize it was a special moment? Why did he steal my moment? The tooth fairy sparkly money was my idea. Why am I mad about this one moment? He’s her dad he deserves to have some of the moments. It’s just a glitter covered bill. There will be plenty more moments. More firsts. More lasts. Why do I cry every time I miss a picture? Or a picture gets deleted? Or someone doesn’t take a picture?

Matt always tells me that I can’t even enjoy the moments because I’m too worried about taking pictures of everything we do. He says I miss what happens in the midst of the picture taking. And I always disagree. So I’ve though a lot about it overnight. And in the past. And I have a lot of reasons. I worked on a children’s cancer unit for years. I’m morbid. I worry about death. Will we have pictures and memories if one of us is gone? What about when the girls are older? Will I be able to tell their children about them? And here is the simple truth: I don’t remember things. I don’t remember anything about my high school graduation. I can’t picture the faces of half the people I went through nursing school with. I remember falling in love with Matt on a date at Silver Creek, but not the details of what happened while we were there. I can’t remember details of the cruise we went on for our first anniversary. And here’s the really painful part: I can’t remember the way Abby said “cuddlebug” when she was two. I know that I loved every moment of nursing my girls, but I can’t remember actually doing it. I can’t remember Abby’s little girl voice, the way it was before the tonsillectomy. I can’t remember their newborn baby smell. Or what Maddy’s third word was. I can remember the events of their past, but not their details. And for some reason this makes me very sad. So I take pictures. Lots of them. Pictures of everything. And I scrapbook them. Not just the big events. But all the little ones too. In the hopes that I don’t forget.

All of this craziness over a picture of my child buying chicken with a sparkly bill reminded of an awesome blog post I read about a year ago. Someone posted it on facebook and I happened to read it. The mom that writes this blog (Glennon Melton) was writing about some of these same feelings. About how everyone told her she should enjoy every moment because it would be gone before she knew it. And I loved her description of time. In ancient Greek there are 2 words for time: Chronos and Kairos. Chronos is the word for the chronological time. The way we mark of time in seconds, minutes, hours, days and years. My scrapbooks are a chronological account of our lives. And then there is Kairos time. It is defined as a period of crisis, a time in which something crucial might happen. In the New Testament it was used to define the time in which God acts. Since I have spent a lot of time studying nursing research I like the definition that said chronos time is quantitative and kairos time is qualitative. But Glennon Melton says it best: “Kairos is God’s time. It’s time outside of time. It’s metaphysical time. It’s those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.”

And this is what I told myself a year ago that I would do. I would cherish these special moments with my children. Those moments when I think “Wow. This child is a true miracle sent to me from God. How did I get so lucky to have this time with her?” Those moments when Matt is doing something simple, like washing dishes or playing with the girls and I think “How did we get here. This life we live is amazing. I am so lucky”. The moments when Maddy is getting ready for bed and wants to be my “baby duckie” while I sing to her. When Abby has just gotten out of bed and wants to come hide under our covers for a few more minutes. And I don’t think to take pictures of these special kairos moments. I get so wrapped up in the milestone moments that I forget about the more special kairos moments. The moments when Matt is talking and I don’t even hear what he says because I am just in awe of our love. The moments when the girls are whining or crying but I don’t notice because all I see is a new freckle or the way the color of their hair has changed. The moments when all four of us are having a giant tickle fight on the king size bed.

So, I’m not going to kid myself here. I’m not going to stop taking pictures. I love our memories. I love being able to sit with my girls and go through a scrapbook and tell them their story. I might even make more pictures now, because this has made me think about capturing more of the “every day” moments. And I will take Heather Reddick up on the opportunity to go through the drive through and recreate the moment I missed. Call me crazy. But I am going to pray that I will be more aware of the kairos moments. Of the moments when God is showing me that I should just slow down and enjoy who we are and where we are. When I notice that each one of us is an individual miracle from God and he deserves all the glory for who we are and the blessings we have.