What you’ll never see on my Instagram feed (or the photo stream I wish I had)

I take a lot of photos. A lot. I’m totally guilty of trying for those Instagram-worthy snaps of meals, scenery, crafty projects, and the kids. So many shots of the kids. I’m talking dozens each day. 

But there are moments you will never see on any of my social media accounts.

I realize it as I’m supposed to be napping next to my daughter.  My sweet three-year-old is snoring softly beside me in the darkened room and I look over at her.  Using one huge bunny as a pillow, two smaller bunnies cuddled in her arms, I can hardly see her face. ‘Snap.’

I know a photo will never do this moment justice so I try to lock it in my memory.

I just finish feeding our five-month old and he smiles the sweetest smile at me, eyes locked on mine. ‘Snap.’ He’ll never look at a camera that way, with so much love it makes my heart burst. I never want to forget that grin, the smoothness of his newborn skin, the way his eyes grab me.

The giggles at bedtime: We’re trying to get big sister into pajamas but she grabs a small bottle of lotion and holds it behind her back and teases, “I have nothing in my hands mommy. Nothing for you,” in her sing-song voice. It’s a trick she just learned and clearly finds hilarious. Her smile is so big, and her eyes twinkle. ‘Snap.’ I can never get her to give me that grin in a posed photograph, but it’s the best thing on the planet. 

The moment my son finds his hand and stares at it in wonder, moving each finger separately, then opening and closing his hand in a fist. ‘Snap.’ I’d love to know what’s going through his mind and could watch this discovery for hours. I swear, sometimes you can see a baby’s brain working.

There are messy moments at mealtime, countless hours playing Little People, and sweet interactions between sister and brother.  Oh – and the countless enormous gummy grins brought on by the fact that, for now, the baby thinks I’m the funniest person on the planet.

I have a horrible memory in general, so I’m worried the details will fade away too quickly. I want to preserve every moment. I think that’s why I take so many photographs. 

In two years, it seems I have stored 15,000 photos. But they are nothing compared to my inner photo stream.

And I try to remind myself that the photos I do take aren’t as real as the moments, and memories go two ways. I want my kids to remember me being present, silly, and right there living life with them instead of holding up a phone or camera and asking them to “hold on!” “Do that again!” “This time, smile!” “No, a real smile!” (Trust me, they will still get a lot of this.)

So I will make an effort to put the camera down and snap those mental photos instead. Even if the details fade, I know the feelings never will.


The honest talk