Lugging around some measure of guilt is a parental privilege. Lately, the shortcoming that gnaws at me at the end of each day is not about what I have or have not done, but about what I have not captured in print or photos.
The Jewish holiday of Purim just passed. This made-for-Disney storyline includes a royal controversy, a nationwide beauty pageant, romance, luck, war and triumph of “good” over “evil.”
As I read the story, I am struck by a parenthetical portion of the tale. After a particularly upsetting day, King Achashverosh noted as the King of Persia, was tossing and turning in bed. He asked for his Book of Chronicles – I envision monstrous leather bound tome, King’s seal imprinted on the front cover, and soft parchment pages filled with black ink. I see the king in his royal pjs, reclining in bed, pouring over his recent happenings, thoughts and personal impressions captured by quill by his staff. How incredible!
In 2001 when my first child was born, iVillage offered a free platform –much like today’s blogger interfaces. Mine was a private “Mommy blog”, password protected and intended to be seen only by me. It was simply a way to chronicle the first rolls, first teeth, giggles and other little moments and milestones that parents are “supposed” to chronicle. I have a poor memory for details and even I can’t read my own handwriting… So what better place to keep track, but online?
Yet one day, a year later, iVillage had technical glitch and “poof” – my “memories” vanished into thin air. Not only memories, but first-time sappy Mommy poetry, doctor’s appointment records and early photos. I tried all sort of technical maneuvers unsuccessfully (Google Desktop – my very own computer Messiah- had not yet been born) and consoled myself with the very reality that I had indeed lived the moments, enjoyed them at the time and that was sufficient.
When we were expecting our second child, I made a decision not to keep a baby book. Wouldn’t it be unfair to have infant chronicles for only one child? I focused on living in the moment, enjoying it and appreciating the past for having led us to the day at hand. But I felt twinges of guilt as Mommy Blogger cropped up by the day sharing the little wonders of their baby’s lives.
In November of 2006, that second child was three years old. He was lying on the floor in his bedroom, sun shining through the window as he looked up at his hands and feet- which were kicked into the air. “Wook Mommy, they match” – he said wide-eyed examining his feet side by side. He was so very impressed that they were identical in size, shape and color. I laughed. “Yes, they do match.” I said. “I believe God made them like that for you.”
And I know this… the date, the exact words we exchanged and his W-inflected L – because I was so moved by his wonder, that swallowed by stubborn pride and created an account on yet another blog platform, password protected it and captured that memory and many ever since.
I’ve never quite shaken the loss of those tidbits and the time I took to capture them for our first-born. But since that day, for nearly 5 years, I have randomly, sporadically and imperfectly set their words and fragments of my thoughts in black font on my computer screen.
And to that growing collection of minutia meaningful to me and mine alone, I am adding images.
Now, I wield my digital SLR like a weapon, hiding behind corners and ducking under couches, trying to capture candid acts. My oldest has perfected the “duck and roll” maneuver so I have many photos of his lower legs and feet spinning through the air as he tries to escape my line of fire.
I was having trouble bringing myself to bed tonight because I am enjoying looking back at entries from days passed, surprised by moments I had forgotten.
It would take at least two scribes (or a reality show producer) to preserve in detail all of the lovely, mundane, aggravating, miraculous aspect of day-to-day life as the Mommy in my mini-kingdom. But alas, decent scribes are difficult to come by and I have discovered there is much to be gained by taking a minute here and there to capture the moment.
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog.