Today I was working on condensing some of my photo files – an epic undertaking for parents these days – and realized how often I record my daughter. She’s 5, my youngest, and my girl. She was born in 2010 and by that time I fully understood my iPhone camera. I noticed how many videos included a mostly veiled “mom voice” when my son would appear with her/near her. They are four years apart, so there is a significant change between my sweet patient voice to her and my less patient and exhausted voice to him.
This sat poorly with me today. Gave me a faint ringing guilt at the back of my mind all evening. This only magnified during times tonight when my son would argue, talk back, or just behave like a 9 year old boy who, naturally, knows everything. I said something about this to my overworked and beyond tired husband who carefully, tentatively chose to use that as a segway to tell me how he’s heard comments from me lately about how our daughter is “the good one” and I need to be more careful. He threw in a “we” after thought somewhere in there so I wouldnt completely choke on my vehemence at such a suggestion. I know he wasnt attacking my parenting choices or judging my seemingly lack of Mom Tact, but it still stung. It stung that place in my brain that was already sensitive from my own observation. My relationship with my son lately has been more homework and duties than play and fun. My husband has been able to do the fun video game, scratch on the couch, fart and joke parenting while i’m all “lunchbox!” and “socks, man! socks!!!!”.
In hunting my mind for a scrap of credit, I discovered a little reasoning. Pictures and videos do not tell the whole story. Lord knows they should for how many we collect, post, submit and share. It’s hard to remember not to pick up the phone and snap a pic of all activities and moments, but that’s where I found reason.
My son immediately stops being sweet and good when I pick up a lens. If I am recording, he wants to direct or do his Jester impersonation. He is no longer a candid honest subject, but an affected, forced show. While I am able to capture the sweet, silly moments with my daughter, I cannot forget that those same moments did happen with my son, I just dont have the file/film to prove it. He’s an obnoxiously photogenic kid, as is my daughter, so I have wonderful photos. I just don’t have as many videos lf that adorable cute chipmunk voice that’s missing his “r’s”.
Do I have a favorite? Yes, sometimes. Truth is that favorite changes often. Sometimes it’s the big one who is so intelligent and logical and sensitive and caring and imaginative and creative. Other times it’s the empathetic, goofy, hilarious, smart, charismatic kid who happens to be a great sleeper. Sometimes it’s even the tall grumpy cranky one who gave birth to them both. We’re all just trying to figure out the best way to make this family thrive and succeed with some happiness thrown in every once in a while. As it turns out, you can’t document it all, but you sure do feel it all. To be smooshy about it, my heart certainy has been keeping track of all the special moments i’ve had with my children. ..and my liver can point to all the trying times.