In September Jeff and I left Scarlette overnight for the first time and took a trip to Callaway Gardens. We had a free pass and after the year we’d had, we thought it would be good for us to spend some alone time together. I packed my bags and purposely left my camera out of them. We were strolling hand in hand through the butterfly garden when Jeff asked me where my camera was. “I decided not to bring it” I told him. “So it’s just us and no work?” he asked. “Just us” I replied.
We had an amazing weekend. And by amazing, I mean I did almost ten miles on a bike trail and was all “WHO’S YOUR DADDY GARY?! WHO’S YOUR DADDY?!” when we turned our bikes back in. Unfortunately, I don’t think the cycling manager has ever actually seen Remember The Titans so that made things a bit awkward.
The thing is, it would have made for an awesome blog post. Especially because I almost hit a little girl with my bike. Because I was trying to ring my bike bell. True story. The place is beautiful, the photos we could have gotten would have made Gwen Stefani start teaching us how to spell fruits. This place is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S. But when I set my camera to the side, it was because I knew it would be too easy for me to get caught up in getting THE picture. On drafting the accompanying words in my head. On not being present.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons over the past year and one of the biggest is that life is too short not to be present for the moments unfolding right now.
It’s too short to strive to be picture perfect.
I thought a lot about that idea while putting together Scarlette’s first birthday party. I had a little board on Pinterest where I was keeping ideas, including some really beautiful homemade cupcakes. We had *gasp* store bought cupcakes. I know! What kind of blogger am I? The kind who just couldn’t get it together to make cupcakes from scratch because her baby woke up at 4am, that’s what kind. My sweet in-laws picked them up for us on their way here, after I called them and was like “Yeah…I’m not going to have time to make cupcakes…”
I talk a lot about my desire to be an authentic blogger and I think the key to that is being present. On missing the shot of your baby smashing her hand into her cupcake because you’ve got the camera down and you’re watching it happen. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with getting the shot. I’d like to have had it, I was just so wrapped up in the moment that I forgot to point and shoot. I’m just saying that being willing to miss the picture for the experience is key.
Pinterest is awesome. And for some people, it’s real life. I envy those people, the ones who can get it all together and share it with the rest of us who pin it to our boards and then spend hours recreating tissue paper pom poms. Seriously, those things take forever. But it’s not our life. Our life has a pile of laundry in the foyer that I forgot to throw in the wash before the guests arrived and a vacuum cleaner in the bathtub, where I hastily stashed it while yanking the shower curtain shut and running to answer the door. Don’t judge me. Also, don’t tell Jeff that’s where the vacuum cleaner is.
There’s pressure, being a blogger, to have the best photos and the most pins and the cutest kid. Luckily I’ve got the cutest kid so there’s one problem solved. Sometimes
I have to stop and revel in the romance of walking through the gardens or let tiny little hands smash cupcake into my hair and know that it doesn’t have to look perfect to be perfect. That it doesn’t have to be captured in keystrokes to live on in a memory. That the internet might be prettier than my living room, but the magic happening in it can’t be fully recreated there.