I take a lot of pictures of my children. I don’t know if I take more than the average parent, but I constantly have the camera at the ready, snapping a good ten to fifteen photos of my children at a time.
To me, it’s important to document their growth.
Maybe it is a bit more personal than that.
You would be hard pressed to find many images of me as a child. The handful I have were uploaded online by a dear family member. The only one who seemed to treasure my childhood enough to preserve documentation of it’s existence. Besides the half dozen or so photos she uploaded online, I have zero photos of myself as a baby.
A small collection of me at a creek as a toddler.
One of me on a small horse.
On the back of a quad.
Some school photo.
Me, doing homework during my first return to California after the rocky transition to living with my brother in Connecticut.
My childhood, is largely carried on through stories told to me. I try to pretend to remember the details of summer days and toddler foibles.
The story of when I jumped in the pool without a life vest. When I was brought to the surface and asked why I went swimming without it I said, “I wasn’t swimmin’, I was drownin’!”
The time I threw a rock straight up into the air and knocked out my front teeth. I looked up, wondering why the rock hadn’t soared over the fence. I remember looking up.
I try to remember more than extension cords running between apartments. More than my strawberry patches being picked clean by a bully. My watermelon being knocked out of my hands by another bully.
I don’t remember much of the good from being a child. The memories I do remember are an assortment of feelings.
The good is really good though. The pride of buying a ruby ring for a woman I loved as a mother. Watching Wallace & Gromit. I remember enjoying church. Looking forward to learning about God through Kiwanis.
I am hard pressed to find many memories of my childhood. Try as I might to search my consciousness for memories, most exist in a weird state of ‘did this really happen or did I make it up to fill in a gap?’
I am terrified of my children having to live like that. I want them to have access to their childhood as adults. To see the good, the bad and every moment in between.
I photograph nearly every moment, sometimes filling my camera roll with hundreds of photographs a day. I fill my Facebook with images of their childhood, in part due to the serious lack of my own.
They say as a parent, one of the biggest things you want is to try to give your children everything you never had.
I want my kids to have proof of their existence. Tangible proof of the moments, so they never have to second guess whether they really happened. Someday we will be able to look back together, and I won’t have to question how their childhood went, like I question my own sometimes.