More Than A Snapshot (Day #37)

There’s been a lot of talk about moments here in the blogosphere.  Creating them.  Taking the time to notice them. Remembering to savor them.

I’ve been solidly on that train.  I’ve discovered that the combination of being new to motherhood and being new to blogging creates a sort of memory mandate.  Moments become memories without any effort at all.  Watching Lil Mil discover her hands and explore her voice.  The way she’s captivated by the animal mobile on her bouncy chair.  Her first plane ride.  The expression on her face during her first shower, equal parts suspicion and bliss.  These moments dig in and don’t let go.

I like this.  I like that little moments now feel like big moments.  I like that the tiny things now leave the biggest footprint.  I like that I’m finally learning how to delight in the magic of the now.  To let the present moment be enough.

The present moment is enough.  It’s all that we have, after all.  So it makes sense that we would endeavor to savor it.

There’s a danger, though.  There’s a danger that in focusing on the now – in relishing its tiny, discrete, specific moments – we’ll miss the big picture.  The composite image of our lives.

Sure, we can string our collection of stand-alone memories together to create a sort of highlight reel.  Vail Vacation: The Hits! But our lives are more than a series of moments.  Our lives are a sum greater than its parts.

We strive to live in the now (a good and worthy endeavor), but the totality of our lives can’t be found here, in the eternal present.  The true picture of our lives, at every moment, is an amalgamation of the past, the present, and the future.

It’s easy to forget this.  It’s easy to forget that the snapshots we’re taking – The Family On Vacation, Roasting Marshmallows At The Ritz,  Lauren’s Birthday Dinner – aren’t the full picture.

Sometimes we need a reminder.

Yesterday was our last full day of vacation.  After a day of skiing, we all gathered around the fire pit at the Ritz Carlton to make s’mores.  We sat in a row, Sister and Niece H on one end, Husband and I on the other, Mom and Dad in the center, Lil Mil tucked behind us in her carseat.  Over wine and burnt marshmallows, we listened to live music.  We sang along.  We took pictures.  When it started to snow, we looked at each other and smiled.  This is great, our smiles said.  Let’s not forget this moment.

For us, it was simply that:  a perfect moment.  A snapshot we wouldn’t forget.

For a woman on the other side of the fire, it was something more.

She approached us as she was leaving.  She’d been watching us, she said.  And while she didn’t want to intrude, she just wanted to tell us how wonderful it was to see a whole family together.  To see two sisters who were so obviously sisters, who so obviously belonged to the couple sitting between them.  To see the next generation.

She went on to tell us that she’d lost her husband, and that because of that, to see us all together …

She didn’t finish her sentence.  She didn’t need to.  We heard what she didn’t have to say.  You don’t know how lucky you are.  What I would give to have this moment.

And then she said something none of us will forget.  Against the backdrop of her own loss, with eyes that were at once smiling and sad, she looked at us and said:

Sometimes, Life is just so good.

She saw what we could not see.  She saw beyond the snapshot.  She saw the big picture.

And thanks to her, we did, too.

(What does the composite image of your life look like today?  Do you find that focusing on the little moments takes your attention away from the big picture?)

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