I am going to be 34 years old in a few days time. I thought we may as well get it out of the way, to avoid the delusion that this post is going to be about healthy living and getting enough sleep and vitamins. I am old enough to realise this is most likely not going to happen. Neither am I going to reactivate my gym membership.
There is something about cancelling your gym membership. The feeling of failure, of giving up on yourself. Gyms know that, and that’s precisely why they want you to call them. To admit it and to hear yourself saying the words. You almost feel fatter even saying it. “I would like to cancel my membership”. Fortunately this post is not going to divulge into the downsides of doing it, as neither you nor me need to feel bad about it right now, just a few days after Christmas. Few days after a week of stuffing our bellies with M&S’s finest. No. Not this post.
Reading it with a glass of wine in hand? I am not going to patronise anyone about the benefits of sobriety as I am a great believer in benefits of a nicely matured resveratrol.
More books! Read more books! It’s high up on my list, but realistically I’m not going to go beyond… my kindle’s wish list of a couple of cheesy brain killers.
Travelling is almost a wishful thinking with kids, albeit a possibility, but we were fortunate enough to have travelled a lot pre-sprogs, so it doesn’t feel very urgent this year.
Learning a new language: I tried that. I am fluent in two so I won’t push the boat with a new one. I know my limits.
There is one thing though we are all capable of. It requires commitment but it’s sooo worth it. Something you will never regret doing. Whether you are doing it yourself or having someone else do it for you, I strongly encourage you to take more photos of your kids. Do it. Make it a priority this year.
Remember when they were born? It most likely feels like yesterday. You thought you still have time, that one day you will get your shit together and make yourself look fabulous and have a family session, with everyone looking gorgeously tanned, wearing crispy, white tops and jeans, looking happy and healthy. How did that go? The first year post baby had gone in a blur. You have plenty of iPhone snaps, mostly hazy, some random selfies taken at night. Maybe you even had a session with me, in which case those are most likely the only photos you can blow up on a bigger format without pixelation.
DSLR Cameras are widely available these days and more and more affordable for everyone, so it’s worth learning how to use them. There are plenty of great online courses, which will help you get started with your gear. If you then get your head around all the technical stuff, I wrote a blog about photographing your newborn, but there are great resources where you can learn how to take awesome photos of your older kids. Creative Live is probably the best website with tons of informative videos and courses. If you cannot see yourself ever getting enough time to get your head around photography, get in touch. I’ll be more than happy to help. Dinky feet Photography now offers sessions for families and older kids too.
Make sure you not only have photos of your children, but with them.
If you had a session with me, you were most likely bullied into a family photo with your kids. You might not have had a chance to wash your hair and put a matching outfit on, but we took the photos anyway. Those pictures are not for you, they are for your kids. Those photos are their biography. Your kids want to know you were there with them. By the time you look at your pictures together, you will be much older, and you will realise how young and fabulous you looked back in the day.
I wrote about this very subject many times, but what rammed it home today was a simple family break. I visited my parents in Poland, took my daughter with me to see some snow, as it’s so scarce in UK. I took my camera, but I always take it and rarely use it. I am too tired, the light is not great, we are not going anywhere fancy or with an outstanding nature, so why bother. Also, I look like crap today. No way I am putting any make up on. I am at my folks, I brought 3 pairs of sweat pants.
We spent Christmas in my parents’ village house. It’s lovely, with a real fireplace and stone floors, but a week with anyone’s parents in confined space can be a bit much, so me and my husband decided to take our daughter for a refreshing walk in the local woods. In minus 2 degrees Celsius, snow was falling down in patches, and it looked nice enough to get the camera out of the bag. I tied my hair back and put on the biggest jacket I could find, with no intention of letting anyone take any photos of me whatsoever. I don’t like my bum, I don’t like my nose. I could photoshop those to make me look like Angelina Jolie, but that would be a lie, so instead, I avoid the camera.
We wandered down the path, followed by my parent’s scruffy dogs. No mountains, no crystal clear rivers, no sunny skies, not even tons of fluffy snow. Pretty average walk in a pretty average winter woodlands. But what makes those photos less than average to me was the fact they were of the most important little heart, my very own daughter. We keep forgetting that.
Children are the most precious art. Especially if they are ours.
I cannot tell you whether they are great photos from a technical perspective, but I can tell you those are some of the rare pictures of my daughter I have taken, that are not on my iPhone. This is pretty sad state of events considering this is what I do for a living.
I wanted more.
I kept snapping randomly and we ended up with quite a nice gallery.
Of course I have taken some pictures of my husband and our daughter together, I always do. We went out a couple of days in a row and took some more. At one point, it got so cold, my daughter’s hands were freezing, but since she refused to wear her gloves, I decided to take her in my arms and stuff her tiny hands under my jacket to warm them up. I could not carry the camera and a toddler, so hubby got the rare opportunity to be trusted with my gear. Against my better judgement, he started snapping pics. It must have felt great to finally be warm:
I absolutely love this photo. You cannot see me but I am there, and she is happy, and that’s all that matters to me.
I got braver the next day and actually showed half of my face:
This picture was also taken by my husband, a non-photographer. Never underestimate your partner.
These are some of the very few photos I have of my daughter. I wear a 15 year old jacket and my hair is tied with a random headband. We are both messy, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is we are both there, in the moment, and she is happy.
Never take the time we have for granted. Take too many pictures, because one day, for them, it won’t be enough. x