I take hundreds of photos every month, and most of them don’t get shared with anyone, let alone online. And yet the moments in time that those photos capture are just as important a part of our story as the other images that I do choose to share.
I originally created this blog as a way of documenting our lives, a way of watching the girls grow into who they’re going to be and a way of remembering who they once were. It’s something I want them to be able to look back on as they get older, because memories fade but (digital) photographs don’t.
It’s easy (and tempting) to only focus on sharing the fun bits, the memorable parts, the highlights and the celebrations. But I’m learning more and more as I continue through this crazy journey of motherhood that it’s really important to me that I capture the ordinary, everyday times that we spend together as well.
The bits of the jigsaw that fill in the gaps to complete the picture.
The tantalising glimpses into who our girls are becoming.
The chaos, the calm and all the moments in between.
This monthly feature – The Moments In Between – is a space for me to share all of those magical and messy parts of our family life that would otherwise just stay in a folder on my laptop, never to see the light of day.
January felt like it lasted for 7,654 days. Back into lockdown, back into homeschooling and back into this strange reality we’ve all been living in for almost a year now. We’d sort of forgotten about it over the Christmas holidays (which already feel like they were months ago) and even though we were expecting the tighter restrictions, there had still been a tiny bit of hope that maybe, just maybe, 2021 would start off slightly better than it did.
All in all, it’s been a challenging (and expensive!) month. A broken down boiler (which meant we had no heating or hot water for almost a week); an inexplicably leaking kitchen ceiling; a poorly pussycat; my car failing it’s MOT; and my husband’s Mum ending up in hospital (twice) needing emergency blood transfusions and then an operation. All whilst home-schooling, working with therapy clients and beginning to get things moving with home renovations.
It’s felt messy, chaotic and stressful.
There has been magic in that mess. Calm in the midst of the chaos. And smiles among the stresses. I might have cried tears of frustration and overwhelm more times throughout January than in the whole of 2020 put together but I’ve laughed a lot too and been able to see all the positives, of which there were many. Birthdays and snow and first doses of vaccines to name a few. Perhaps the tears were a necessary release of everything that happened last year. Perhaps it was all exactly what it needed to be. Who knows?
I’m grateful as ever to have a roof over our heads, food in our fridge and money coming in. I’m also never going to take a warm radiator or a hot shower for granted ever again!
In the same breath I miss my parents and Sophie terribly, am desperate to travel (even just outside the town we live in) and can see my girls’ worlds rapidly shrinking when they should be expanding instead. It still doesn’t feel real. Neil keeps joking that it’s like a real-life season of The Walking Dead, except I’m not so sure he’s actually joking any more.
And so I do what I always do when I don’t know what to do – the only thing I can do. I pick up my camera and document it. Telling our story and sharing our small contribution to the world in words and images. Trying to make sense of it all, trying to make something beautiful out of something so awful. Creating a tangible time capsule for us to look back on when we’re in a better position than we’re in at the moment. Because even though it might not feel like it right now, it will get better. I know that these images, this record of life as it is right now, are going to matter so much more in the future than any of us realise.
This was our January, the first chapter at the start of a new, same-but-different year in the midst of a pandemic.
This is us.