Having a photography business means lots and LOTS of hard drives and terabytes of archived photographs. And that’s just the first 4 years I got my hands on a good camera! Ha!
I rang in the New Year by spending days glued to my office chair sorting and organizing my archives making room for The Next. That means I’ve been looking back over years of my babies being born, toddling around, endless hours in the sunshine at the park, at grandma’s, playing dragon with their Daddy, at the lake, playing with sweet friends in little baby swimming pools. I dove headlong into endless images of happiness in the sunshine, and I realized something.
I don’t remember how hard it was. That’s not what I think when I look at those pictures. Because let me tell you, it was hard. Elijah and I were building a recoding studio and he was forging a path out of the wilderness for us, which meant long hours, late nights, exhaustion, and tight finances. God, was it hard. And I stayed at home with two (at the time) little kids, and I took pictures, and pictures, and pictures.
I learned how to use my camera, and I learned how to stay alive.
So I guess I was surprised to look back over all those sunshine soaked images and feel only warmth and love and joy and happiness the point of a heart explosion. I saw my children — differently — than I had ever seen them before. They were – ok, you’re gonna think this is so trite – they were gifts to me. They were gifts to the whole world, that I had the privilege of caring for and pouring out my love on, and in return they were brilliant little lights to me in the dark. Don’t roll your eyes, I know that’s such a mom thing to say. But I couldn’t see them then the way that I can see them now.
Chloe, my daughter will be 17 in a few weeks, Arden is 14, and Leo the Lion is 8. I guess it’s been a minute since Chloe was a six month old in the travel swing soaking in the sunshine, or a one year old toddling around in the grass, me singing You Are My Sunshine to her over and over, crying because I loved her so much.
It’s the pictures that let me revisit those days, removed from the struggle, the postpartum depression, the money struggles, the pain of figuring out how to really live as who I am in the world instead of hiding myself away. I am so thankful for them.
There is so much value in Looking Back and remembering. It’s ok if the memories bring sadness or pain, that’s just the past still knocking around inside that needs to be let out. It’s part of healing. It’s part of becoming who we were really made to be, and it’s ok even if it’s scary and it hurts. I had to let it hurt for years. And years… and years. I had so much hurt to let out that I thought it would be the end of me. But sitting here this foggy morning, 2021, Looking Back – I see love. I feel the warmth of the sunshine. I giggle and cry looking into the beautiful brown, trusting eyes of my children playing in the warm grass. And I know that I am healed. That it was Love that healed me and kept me through those years. And how good it is to document our lives – even when it is hard – because there is treasure there we will find, if we are willing to Look Back.