Since I purchased my first digital camera in 1999 I’ve taken over 20,000 pictures. My oldest child is in over 8,500 of those pictures. I know this because Flickr keeps count for me.
Her very first moments on this earth.
Every major baby milestone.
First day of school.
Moments of rest.
You name it, I’ve got it “on film.” Her whole life in pictures. Her story told in the captures of moments in time.
Except that there’s starting to be a problem. She’s growing up. She’s walking away.
This is a good thing, I know that. I encourage it! I’m the one yelling “YES” at the radio when Ayelet Waldman told Terri Gross. “I’m terrified by the idea of a world governed by these people who’ve never had to govern themselves”, when talking about over-parented children who never do anything or go anywhere without adult supervision. I believe in Free Range Children
I believe it is essential to her development, her character and her independence that she go away, without me, and learn about her world – that she explores, and imagines, and learns to get along – with me.
My problem is this: There are starting to be holes in the story. Un-illustrated pages in the book of her life. Because I’m not there (and I shouldn’t be) to take a picture of it.
I want to put on a trench coat and sneak behind her jumping behind trees and bushes like some kind of crazy cartoon spy. Not because I don’t trust her or I’m worried. But because I want to take pictures!!
We went on vacation last week to our annual Not-Blogher trip to the mountains. It was perfect but I have so many pictures like this now.
“Bye Honey! Enjoy the creek! Come back by dinner time”
… take the camera…. I think inside my head knowing I’d never let her take my Nikon with her.
I mean I trust her with her own safety and all .. but not the safety of The Precious!!! Let’s get real.
A camera of her own.
I’m getting jazzed about this idea. A camera of her own. Nothing too expensive. This one is cheaper than her DS. It’s got good ratings. Seems easy to use.
Then she can bring me pictures and I can see what happens after the screen door slaps shut. I can fill in the gaps that are naturally a part of her growing up. She can look back and remember the first time she did this or that without me. And smile. And hopefully be happy she has a Mama who believed in documenting AND in letting go.
A camera of one’s own .. to make both mother and daughter happy and healthy .. cheers to you Virginia Wolf, your lessons hold true even in a digital age.