As I sat quietly in the stillness of our darkened room rocking my sleepy baby tonight, I allowed myself to take in the moment and appreciate it. It's hard to believe Jake is already two months old and as each week races by it made me think again how quickly life goes by and no doubt before I know it, he will have his first tooth, say his first words, take his first steps and beyond.
I then turned my thoughts to my two other children and how independent they are becoming even at the relatively tender ages of six and three and a half. We have packed so much into their young little lives already including a few lovely holidays, endless birthday parties, play dates, pre-school, school, camping trips, countless days out to fun places, weekends away at friends, pub lunches, cafe treats and more dine outs than I could count.
As I sat holding Jake in my arms this evening, I reflected back and asked myself, if I had to look back over my children's lives so far, what would be my favourite memories of them? I tried hard to recall specific events, days out, a holiday or a particular birthday party but found it hard to really focus on any of these things. It was then that I turned my attention back to my now sleeping baby. As I listened to the rise and fall of his chest as he breathed and felt the warmth of his skin against my own I realised that these were the moments that would mean the most when the children were grown and had lives of their own. I want to remember how they jump up and dance at the end of every movie while the credits roll, how their laughter sounds when they are happy, how it feels to hold them while they sleep and how pleased they always are to see you when they wake up with tangled hair and sleepy faces. I want to hold onto the wonderful cooing noises that Jake now makes along with his beautiful big gummy smiles and the way my other children light up when they hold him.
Although as time passes, our memories of all we have done with our children may fade, what I hope we are left with when we look back, is a feeling of warmth born out of these simple uncomplicated moments. This, for me, is what makes being a parent so special.
One of the reasons I have a deep passion for documentary photography is that I am able to capture those moments on camera and relive them more vividly. It's remembering a look, a smile, an emotion all over again, that without the image in front of me, I may sadly have forgotten. For me, there is so much beauty in the simplicity of the every day if you look hard enough....
Last year I over ambitiously took on a project to take a photograph every day for a year. I called the project 'A year in our life' although it actually turned into 'Six months in our life..'! I have decided to keep my camera within easy reach this year so that I can document another year in our life but perhaps without the high expectation of a daily account!
I know some of you may have seen some of these images but I thought I'd share with you anyway some from the project.