Forgive me as I link to one thing and then take it in a completely different direction.
Esquire has a terrific profile of George Clooney in the December issue. I’ve always been a big fan; he seems like the kind of guy you would almost be happy stole your girlfriend from you.
“So what happened with you and Jane?”
“Oh, she’s dating Clooney now. But I’m totally cool with it. He’s really much better for her. And he’s been inviting me over to play hoops, so it all worked out for the best.”
Anyway, I found this quote rather interesting.
At his villa on Lake Como, he has had, as his houseguests, everyone from Al Gore to Walter Cronkite to Kofi Annan, and still he insists that “at dinner, everyone put the phones away. And so there are not a lot of photos of our times there. Because I want us to live them.”
I’ve been putting together the pictures for our annual family calendar over the past week or so. I’ve taken fewer pictures in the past 12 months than I had done in previous years. By a pretty significant margin. And I’ve taken only a handful of videos with my iPhone and can’t remember the last time I took out our actual video camera.
I don’t think that’s unusual. Most parents go overboard with kid #1 and slowly scale back the pictures and videos as they have more kids, the kids get older and add more activities to the family’s schedule. It’s one thing to sit around with one kid who is learning to roll over and snap a dozen pics. It’s another to try to remember to take out your camera when one kid is doing something cute, another is screaming in her bedroom, and you have to get everyone out the door to pick up the third from a playdate.
I feel a little guilty about that, but I was never a parent who wanted to document every second of my children’s lives. There’s a part of my brain that thinks it’s a good thing to scale back how much imagery we take in of our kids.
It seems like everyone has their phones or cameras out at any public event, doing their best to record the moment. And their eyes are pointed not at the field or the dais, but at their screens to make sure the image is framed properly. And, thus, we end up missing the actual moment while we’re trying to preserve it.
It feels like we should flip that equation. Pay more attention to what is happening so we have the memory burned in deep. Maybe hold up a camera or phone and point it in the general direction, but our eyes should be focused on our kid, the guy in the batter’s box, or the candidate behind the podium.
I’m sure I’ll regret not taking pictures of certain events down the road. But I’m also not going to sweat it anymore. We have a ton of pics of our girls. I want those photos to jog my memory of those moments, not make me think of how hard I had to work to get the lighting just right that day. Or, as Clooney said, I want us to live those times.