That’s why I take so many pictures.
I want to do something that will make the moments that make up my life stay with me longer. I want to hold on them because I know in a matter of seconds things will change. That same light won’t be shining through the trees in the same breathtakingly beautiful way…my children’s smiles will change. The expressions they make will mature. The secret inside jokes Dave and I share that make us smile across the table at each other or poke each other’s sides because we know exactly what each other is thinking will be forgotten.
Yes, other rich moments will take their places. And they may be just as good, or even better. But I hate that those things that bring me so much joy so quickly slip through my memory. I wish pictures could bottle up the smells and the feelings and the sounds of my life.
We are spoiled, I know, but Dave's brother-in-law found a deal we couldn't turn down, so we embraced it.
I want to remember the way my kids eyes sparkled when we told them where we were going. I want to remember how they simply couldn't sit still when we looked up the ship on the Internet before we left and showed them where we'd be "living" for the next seven days.
I want to remember how the Mexican hilltop town looked as we drove through it on our way to the zip line on one of our stops, the people living their lives walking through the villages as we rumbled up the mountains beside them. I want to remember all my children were there with me on that Mexican bus, and Dave’s smile as I glanced back to where he was sitting…cousins all around.
I want to remember Lucy wrapped around me like a koala bear on my lap giving me commentary of everything that is happening. “It’s dark, Mom” (when we’re going through a tunnel), “that’s a birdie, Mom.” “I’m happy, Mom.” I know, Lu, I’m happy too. Even though you’re slipping off my lap we are both so sweaty in the humid Mexican air. Even though we are going over bumps and potholes so big in dirt roads with no shocks on the bus and I can’t even imagine how this giant bus is making it up a mountain…creeping past sheer drops on one side into a rocky river below and narrowly missing construction and piles of rubble on the other side. This means we’re living. This means we’re on an adventure. And I love adventures with all my heart.
I want to remember watching Dave take Lucy into the ocean and help her overcome her fear of the waves, huge smiles on both faces. The feel of the gritty, golden sand under my feet. The way the waves sound as they crash on the beach. The way Grace’s face lights up when I come out to swim with her and lift her up over the rumble of the huge waves. I want to remember how Elle worries about the poor guy doing the entertainment for dinner because no one is repeating after him like he's asking in the commotion. Or how Grace looked up at me wide-eyed during a rendition of “Jesus Christ Superstar” in a tribute to Andrew Lloyd Weber’s music one night for the entertainment and asked what I thought Jesus would think about that.
I want to remember the exhilaration of having a minute to sneak off to the back deck and indulge in a good book (Rebecca) with no interruptions while the kids were tucked safely in their classes. The way we all looked at each other with sheepish smiles realizing there's nothing we can do but sit back and get drenched when the black clouds in Cabo San Lucas finally decided to open up and pour on us as we stood on the beach watching a sweet man weave bracelets with the kids' names on them for souvenirs. The way Max attached his sweet new mirror glasses he heckled a guy for and they became a permanent fixture on his face for the rest of the trip. The way all of our kids could slurp down multiple ice cream cones every day on the ship and the way the kids sat so politely at dinner, napkins on laps, discussing this or that with their cousins.
I loved how the wind whipped through my hair as I sped across the zipline, above the breathtaking beauty hundreds of feet below, and how if I looked off to the side I could see the bright blue of the ocean waving at me in the distance. And I loved watching the thrill of it all shining through my kids' faces as they came in for their landings.
Yes, it's true that pictures can't do justice to the rich memories, but at least they're worth a try. At least they trigger those feelings back, even partially, to remember what fun we had.
And when I get to it, I'll post a bunch...