Penelope and Fiona 2014
I was watching an interview with photographer Sasaki Masako. He had gone to Kamaishi, the site of the devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March, 2011 to take photographs of the rebuilding. He said something that stuck with me: “If I don’t stand in the same place every time, I won’t see the significance of what takes place.”
He was talking about the rebuilding efforts and missing the changes that are occurring. And it’s exactly what happens with our families. If you don’t take photographs every month, every season, every year, you will miss the significance of what is happening in your own life.
Our children change from month to month and a lot of times we don’t see it because we’re living at the molecular level with our families. But when we step back and compare last year’s photographs to this year’s, it’s obvious. Our sons are growing into men, our daughters now coolly assess us and find us lacking – there’s an adultness to them that seemingly appeared overnight.
When you’re in it, the moments are at the forefront. The way they say flip flop (fip-fop), or the way they toddle to the door when they hear your husband’s car pull into the driveway, or that they love Clifford and kiss the tv screen when he comes on. They’re just moments that make up the day, and the days are stacked layer upon layer until they’re buried beneath other days and newer memories. The older memories fade because you’re busy and your children are growing and there are new memories to be made.
And then, as you’re looking though your photographs from years ago, or watching old home movies, the day-to-day becomes precious again. You are absolutely overwhelmed with the most sweet, searing appreciation for the life you’ve lived. Once you’re removed from the relentlessness of caring for a young child, you realize it was never really ordinary to begin with.