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. A legacy, of sorts.
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 pieces 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.
I’ve always pledged to keep this space an honest one. Somewhere to share life’s ups and downs, the good and the not-so-good.
Truthfully? I’ve found July very hard.
The transition from the rhythm of school (as disjointed as it ended up being) to the structure-less summer holidays, via three different lots of self isolations; the bittersweet end of primary school; the disappointment of cancelled plans and having to juggle an ever increasing workload around all of it, has left me physically drained and emotionally exhausted. Much like many other people in similar positions I imagine – I’m under no illusions that I’m the only one struggling.
I’ve always been someone who just keeps on going regardless. I think I might have finally found where my limit is. I’ve tried to stay upbeat and positive throughout the turmoil because I know that energy is a mindset and that I’m in charge of my responses to things. I’m not sure I’ve managed it as well as I usually do though and I feel utterly drained.
I looked ahead to summer and there was a distinct discord between sadness that we have no travel plans and simultaneously wanting to make the most of soaking up the slow lazy days of nothingness. A conflict between feeling filled with anxiety and restlessness whilst desperately wanting to feel a sense of rest and relief and contentment.
Maybe I’m trying to force things and I simply need to just let things unfold. I often find myself saying that “letting things happen is as important as making things happen”. Perhaps I need to take more heed of that.
The girls have felt the mismatch and tension too – there have been lots of clashes between us and with each other, an uncomfortable bubbling under the surface, like threatening thunderstorms gathering after an intense heatwave.
The good thing is that all of this has fuelled a big decision about my work. It’s going to be a challenge to bring it to fruition in the timespan I’ve chosen and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to do it yet but somehow I will. I have to because something needs to change. It’s going to mean sacrificing certain things; letting go of old beliefs that drive behaviours (like needing to help everyone and of saying yes when really everything inside me is willing me to say no – and vice versa); and shifting my focus, my energy and my priorities. It’s not going to be easy but it is going to be possible.
As I looked through my images from the month, I wasn’t sure what I’d find. There are more photographs than I thought there would be. And whilst there are maybe fewer smiles than usual, there are still plenty of tender moments, little pockets of light and quiet spaces of both solitude and togetherness that matter just as much as the times where joy is present. I need to hold on to those moments too because they are the foundations on which joy can be built.
I’m grateful for the times I chose to pick up my camera, even in the difficult moments. Especially in the difficult moments. I’m grateful for the images I did make because they tell the story of who we were, who we are and who we’re yet to become.
This is us.