When I first got a camera phone, all those years ago, I took a bunch of photos. I think everybody did- I mean how great was the novelty of a camera on a phone? Sadly those photos are lost now; buried in the graveyard where photos that get lost on technology go to rest.
That particular phone; a funky purple flip phone that I loved dearly was replaced by my very first iPhone, at about the time when Apple was starting to take over the world. The camera on that iPhone 4 was so much better than my previous one and I made use of it, taking photo after photo and video after video. This time, thankfully, I learned my lesson and managed to transfer them safely to my iTunes library, where they have sat, metaphorically gathering dust for the last three or so years.
That was until the other week.
Having upgraded that old iPhone 4, it now lives on as a iPod type device that the kids have requisitioned for Minecraft use, but the other day my little mate was checking out the photos. I thought I had removed all images from the devices, and it turns out I had, but the kids have added extra, and the old videos were still there. Among them the first steps of my youngest little girl, and a very cute discussion with my boy. The video in question is taken in a park in Darwin, where an army of cicadas is providing background music. Bailey, back then a chubby barely-three year old, dressed in a Buzz-Light year singlet and matching helmet, stops riding his Buzz-Light year bike (clearly there was a theme going there), climbs off and begins to look around the park suspiciously.
‘I can hear a snake,’ his little voice tells me.
‘I think it’s a cicada,’ I reply.
‘No mum. No,’ he tells me determinedly, wandering off the path and towards a tree. ‘I think it’s a snake. I think it’s a king brown snake.’ (At which point I seize the moment to launch into a discussion on snake safety, because with three year old boys, you just never know.)
‘A cow will kill it,’ he tells me matter of factly when I’m done.
‘Yes a cow might,’ I concede happily, if it means he won’t touch the snake.
‘But what if the king brown snake eats our cow?’ he asks.
‘Well that would not be cool,’ I say somewhat confused as to when we got a cow, and also what it’s doing declaring war on snakes. The video ends with us on the way home; he still quite certain the cicadas are snakes, and me not able to convince him otherwise for all the cows in Northern Australia.
Now to clarify, we don’t now, nor have we ever, owned a cow, but it is still quite possibly the cutest video clip ever. Not just to look at his chubby little legs push that tiny bike, but to hear the inflections in his voice; the way he said cow, and brown. The ways he has changed, and the way he hasn’t. And it got me thinking; we need to take more videos of this stuff. Of little people telling stories and walking through the park, and saying ‘our brown cow,’because those memories are the stuff you forget- but more importantly, the stuff life is made of.
But it’s not just videos. I attended a funeral recently, and there was a beautiful video montage at the end. In a week full of bad news, and too many losses, looking at those images of a life that ended earlier than it should of, it made me realise that I just don’t take enough photos.
Somewhere along the line I stopped taking pictures of the kids, or of me. I used to take photos and videos of everything, back when a camera on a phone was a novelty, but these days, I just don’t – not unless it’s really significant, or I need a picture for my blog.
It’s like I stopped seeing the importance of the story in photos, and as a result, stopped seeing the importance of the story of our lives. A conversation about a cow eating a snake is not going to change the world, but it’s got so much meaning to our family now, even if just for the cute factor.
It made me think that it’s the little moments that have significance; the things you would miss if they ended, and make you wish you had a thousand photos just to remember their importance. The moments that make you smile when you look back and remember; the ones that would complete a video montage, at the end of a life lived well.
Of places we visit that are boring and fun.
Of the kids on their own, of us all together.
Photos of silly things and fun things. Photos of important moments, and unimportant ones. Photos of all the things that make us who we are.
Just a whole bunch of photos of everything. Because it’s all important, and it’s all part of our story.
It deserves being remembered.
About the author
Jess is a mother of four gorgeous kids and is married to a bloke she refers to as The Boatman. Jess is the creative brains behind the blog Essentially Jess where she shares her world as a Stay at Home Mum muddling her way through life doing her best to remain authentic, hopeful and not too crazy. Jess is also a Grey’s Anatomy tragic and a frequent victim of autocorrect. Visit Jess over at Essentially Jess to say hi.