Friday, March 8, 2013

A Worthwhile Trade

A couple of weeks ago, with Tyler playing happily outside and Matty down for a nap, I made the choice to trade a couple of hours of uninterrupted editing to sit on the couch and watch a mindless afternoon movie. I knew it was pretty unlikely that an entire two hours would pass before I heard unintelligible babble from the nursery or I was bombarded with requests for cookies, a glass of juice or a pair of dry mittens, but I clicked through the channels anyway. I quickly realized that the best it was going to get was The Women. I accepted my fate and began watching and thinking about unfolded laundry, unedited photos and an upcoming birthday party that I was entirely unprepared for.

Aside from a slight case of Meg Ryan envy, I expected to get exactly nothing out of the movie. Except? Near the end, Meg (in all of her amazing hair glory) said something along the lines of “You can have it all. But do you really want it?” This simple sentence on any other day would have slipped right by me, absentmindedly overlooked.  Yet on this day, it didn’t. Maybe it was because this particular day had come after 27 other days in which I had thought long and hard about my priorities and time and how increasingly difficult it was becoming to manage both. 

While I am sure there are women out there who are able to balance the role of motherhood with a plethora of other important roles; that of wife, friend, daughter, employee, gardener, cook and entrepreneur, I learned long ago that I am not one of them. In my world, if too much time or emphasis is placed on one of those roles, the others inevitably suffer. Regardless of how badly I would like to be able to give 100% to everyone and everything, at the end of the day I am forced to make choices. Hard choices. The kinds of choices that are not clearly defined as right or wrong but are more about what is good and what is best. 

During the last few years, I have fallen in love with photography, and it has been good. The chance to meet so many wonderful families and “re-meet” old high school friends and acquaintances who in ten years, have married and become great parents to their own sweet little ones? More than good. Photography, in so many ways, has been a huge blessing to me. It has challenged me in new ways and provided a creative outlet that I didn’t even know I needed. It has allowed me the opportunity to give back to others and for my eyes to be opened to the kindness of absolute strangers. But photography, while good, is not what is best. What is best is being able to tuck my boys in at night and watch the latest Netflix release with my husband while not feeling the least bit guilty that there is editing to be done or thank you cards to be written. Best is a Saturday afternoon spent building a snowman in the front yard or the feeling of tiny arms wrapped tightly around the back of my legs as I attempt to unload the dishwasher. I don’t want to miss out on those things. I don’t want to miss one.single.second of living room fort construction, afternoon board games or Tyler pleading for a “summer machine” for his birthday, despite the fact that I haven’t a clue what it is. Capturing the wrinkly feet of a brand new baby or an adoring glance between a daddy and his daughter feels good. But it doesn’t feel “best.” Being with MY three boys does. And as a working mama with an already limited amount of time, that is exactly where I need to be. 

After much consideration I have decided to take an indefinite break from photography. While I will honor all gift certificates previously sold and very much look forward to the shoots that I have on the books, I will not be scheduling any additional sessions. This decision has been a difficult one but at the end of the day I know that when the time is right, my camera {and hopefully a new lens or two} will still be there. But family snuggle time and children who still beg for “just one more” bedtime story? That's brief. And I owe it to my husband and kids to trade what’s GOOD for the very BEST.  

"Many things we need can wait. The child cannot. Now is the time his bones are formed, his mind developed. To him we cannot say tomorrow, his name is today." – Gabriela Mistral

1 comment:

  1. This was extremely well written. I think you and the boys should get together and write children's books. Their imagination, your words.

    You're a great mom, wife, friend and person. You will go far, regardless of the path that you're on.