Which means various things, including the sad fact that I am, well, getting old. And, she’s getting old, which is really a far sadder fact because oh, how I wish I could keep her small forever!
For the past year or so she’s begged and pleaded for a camera of her very own, and we decided her tenth birthday seemed like a good time. We found a digital camera on Amazon that, while costing a little bit more than we’d wanted to spend, has all of the features and capabilities a ten year old girl should have in a camera. Namely that it’s small, easy to use, and of a good enough quality to take half-decent photos that can be uploaded to a computer.
Now she’s only owned the camera for two days so far, but it is getting a TON of use–which makes me so happy. Mostly. Because what makes me slightly less happy is the fact that at any given moment now, there is a camera all up in my grill. When I wake up in the morning, as I’m settling into bed for the night, while I’m running errands, that little camera is snapping away. Which is, well, kind of awkward and takes some getting used to. But my daughter’s having fun, and honing her photography skills, and if she thinks her mother is a worthy subject then shoot, who am I to argue?
We don’t have a memory stick yet though so after taking 60 or so pictures, we have to upload them and then delete them off the camera so she can take more. (I told you she’s an avid picture taker!) And I have to tell you that each night, as I’m doing the upload with her eagerly waiting at my side, begging me to look through the images and tell her what I think, I find myself positively entranced by what she’s captured.
A few selfies (which I love because even at ten she still has an innocent confidence about her); assorted shots of our cats; all those pictures of me taken throughout the day–my tired smiles, silly faces, and messy hair; scenes from the car window (“I love taking pictures of the trees”, she told me); a little sister angry because she didn’t want her picture taken; a different little sister smiling wide because she LOVES having her picture taken; brothers making lunch; and some sort of blurry scratch on her stomach incurred by one of the aforementioned cats–to hear her talk about it, you’d think it was a badge of honor.
And I’m thinking this whole thing is kind of a stunning glimpse into the world of a ten year old girl–in a way that I or my husband would otherwise never see–and also a look at life that we would otherwise never have. Because it’s not about pressured, frenzied cataloguing of a holiday or Very Important Event. It has nothing to do with vanity, social media, or image. Because she’s not sophisticated or discerning enough for any of that. No, instead, it really is just LIFE. From behind her eyes. From her vantage point.
And it is, undeniably, sweet.
I think that we mothers (and fathers too perhaps) put so much into Doing The Right Things and Being The Best Parents when half the time, the kids don’t notice or care. I know, right? While we sit there agonizing over curriculum or school choices or menu plans or discipline strategies, our children are busy being, well, children. It’s easy to miss amidst all the grown-up busyness and hurry-up. It’s easy to forget through all the worry and second-guessing of am I doing this right and am I failing as a mother.
So, I’m glad my daughter has a camera to remind us of the simple sweetness of being young, indomitable, and filled with the joy of life. And I kind of suspect it might be a greater gift to me than to her.