Monday, February 21, 2011

Living The Photographs

I wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary when it happened, but it stopped me in my tracks.

I had gone upstairs to kiss Kaitlyn goodnight before she dozed off to sleep. Even though she is fourteen years old now, this is still our nightly routine. We laughed for a few minutes, and then I reached over and began tickling her softly under her neck, just like I used to do when she was little.

She giggled and tucked her chin into her chest, squinting her eyes and laughing, and trying to nudge herself deeper into her pillow, away from my hand.

It was in that instant, that I had the flash of a photograph pop into my mind. It was if I had seen this image blink across a television screen for just a split second, in vivid color, and full of life.

In that moment, I had a flashback of Kaitlyn's face when she was just a little girl. Her full, little cheeks, all rosy from playing; her big blue eyes sparkling with laugh wrinkles; her bouncy blond hair stacked on top of her head.

It nearly took my breath away. It was almost like I had a vision, of something that once seemed ordinary, but now is gone.

Being the sentimental girl that I am, I felt a few tears begin to sting my eyes. Tears that formed not because I was sad that she is nearly all grown up, but because I believe it was God's way of reminding me that in many ways, she is still that same little girl that I see in pictures taken years ago.

Despite the fact that she is now a beautiful, maturing, 5'8", young lady - deep inside, she is still that little girl that I once held in my lap and snuggled.

Despite the fact that her life now revolves around school, cheerleading, clothes and friends, instead of Barbie jeeps, stuffed animals and babydolls.... she is still that same little girl that needs to know she is loved.

And even though there are days when we just do not see eye to eye - she is still my little girl.

This moment, as silly as it may sound, was priceless to me. It was as if God allowed me to relive, for just a split second, not only what Kaitlyn used to look like, but what she still looks like on the inside, despite the all-grown-up exterior.

I will admit that I am one of "those moms" who is obsessive about picture taking. I always have been, and assume I always will be. Our house is filled with pictures of every one of my children in all stages of life, every vacation, every holiday and even just everyday moments.

As I look back through all of those photos, I am reminded of how life was then. As I peer at the little faces, staring at me from the old photographs, I try to relive how I was feeling, and allow my thoughts to be drenched with sweet memories.

God has really spoken to my heart this week, and helped me to be aware that I am now living the photographs of the future, and that every moment of every day, needs to be treasured in my heart, not just captured on film.

I think that as our kids get older, taller, and bigger, we can get pulled into the mindset that they are just small adults, instead of bigger kids.

As a result, it is easy to forget that although they seem big, they are still young at heart. They still desperately need all those things we easily and frequently offered when they were small - like affection, compassion, tenderness, patience, gentleness, and self control.

Those fruits of the spirit that seem to easily blossom when children are small and cute, sometimes seem harder to ripen when teenage hormones and differences of opinions kick in. But the little girl or boy still lives inside them, longing to be filled with the love that God created us all to crave.

Today, I want to remember to live the photographs that God is allowing me to experience; and to not only take physical photographs with my camera, but mental photographs with my heart.

I pray that God continues to prick my mind with images of things past, and to help me treasure the moments that are building the photographs of tomorrow.

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Wendy Blight said...

Oh, how I identify, Tracie, as I feel the same emotions with my sweet 17 year old Lauren who will head off to college next year. Part of her is so grown up and mature, but the other part still loves to go to Disneyworld, act silly, and sleep in my bed when Dad is out of town.

My emotions are excited for what lies ahead...sad for what is gone...and a deep desire to make the most of the next six months before she leaves home.

Thank you for this precious insight today. My heart needed to hear know I am not alone in this unfamiliar stage of life.

Renee Swope said...

I'm feeling it too friends. Toddlers who are now teens. The sweetest memories bring joy to the every dayness that goes by so quickly. I'm getting out more photos and buying some new frames so I can live more of the photographs before they are gone.

Amy said...

Such a poinant post, Tracie. I woke up Sunday morning, the day of Anson's 17th birthday, and had a sweet moment laying in bed picturing his face the morning he was born. Time goes by so fast and each moment is precious.

Amy said...

Ooops! Spelled poignant wrong!