It can be a challenge to know where to look when finding the stories you want to keep of your own family. Little rituals, little quirks of your children, or even your mundane routines are often glossed over in the frenetic pace of day-to-day life.
For example, I was considering carefully what to photograph recently. I didn’t want yet another screen time photograph (I don’t avoid them as they are a part of our daily lives- as technology changes and the kids grow, I know I will want that documented. But not every day!), and I was uninspired.
My son came up to me when he saw my camera in hand. “Mommy, I feel like it hasn’t been my turn in a while,” he said, “when will the picture be of me?” This isn’t an unusual question from him. He’s constantly keeping mental tabs on how many times I’ve photographed him in comparison to his sisters. I usually end up scrolling through the online album and counting how many times each child has been represented about once a week. I can show him the tally marks to reassure him that he’s had his fair share of the spotlight. I asked him how he wanted to be photographed- he was reading when he saw me and said he’d just go back to reading his book for the picture.
But it got me thinking. This story isn’t about reading. It’s about him asking. Keeping tabs on what he thinks is fair, and not being afraid to speak up about it.
My son is the keeper of justice. This is both a gift and a curse. When he gets his hair cut, he always asks to bring home lollipops for his sisters. If I give him a treat at home, he immediately rushes off to inform his sisters so they can get one, too. But if we are at Target and I get a set of pajamas for one of the girls, he immediately pipes up that he needs to get something as well, to be fair. How about we go to the toy section? If one sister skips her shower because of an evening activity, he will lose his mind because he had to take a shower that evening. Either they all bathe, or no one should bathe. That’s his sense of fairness and justice, and it’s one of his strongest, most defining traits.
But until he came up to me to ask when it would be his turn for the Photo of the Day, it didn’t really sink in. While I knew it on some level all along, I didn’t really sit back and really examine it. Celebrate it. Give that part of his personality its own time to shine.
And now it’s in a story- as he grows and changes, as his sense of justice and fairness evolves and matures, I will have this concrete moment in time to look back on.