Motherhood and Too Many Photos

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Masur Family 2019

If a picture is worth a thousand words, are thousands of pictures really worth millions of words? It depends on the photo, right? While my flaws are many, one that greatly annoys me is my inability to organize and reduce the amount of my digital photos. I mean, it’s bad. I’ve prided my sentimental self on being a minimalist convert these last ten years or so, but photos (and cards, letters, etc.) are another story. Since Talitha came, it’s been infinitely worse. If I’m about to delete a random iPhone photo I think, “Oh, no! What if we don’t have another photo of her with that exact same expression. I’d better keep it. Oh, and that one, too. It’s the same expression, but her hair is blowing differently in this one.” Seriously.

A few days ago I was thinking about this conundrum–how I should dedicate a whole day when Eric is off and organize (read: delete a ton) of photos. I started thinking about why I feel this need to save all the photos of my baby, and I realized that I just don’t want to miss or lose a thing; I don’t want to let any of it go. I want to be a witness of her life, a cheerleader of all her beautiful moments, and a comfort in all her difficult ones. That’s natural, right?

But as a Christ-follower mama, I know that my greatest calling as Talitha’s mother is not saving all her snapshots and mementos, but pointing her to the One who can save her soul. My wandering heart must not fixate primarily on her, but on Jesus. He calls me to love Him MOST, whose love is more than I can understand. Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe God loves my baby more than I do. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but it’s true.

In that struggle of unbelief, I pray against double-mindedness and reach toward God. I am Mary Magdalene in the dust, completely unworthy, in need, fearful and waiting for stones, wondering what I missed and why I can’t get it together. There’s a lot of fear in motherhood, wouldn’t you agree? Vaccines, life-threatening allergies, diseases, pedophiles, and regular ol’ accidents are just a few of the fears that keep me mindful of my dependence on Christ. The fragility of life and the beauty of life—and there we go. The reason I fear throwing out any of T’s photos is the beauty and fragility of life. And I love her so.

Craving the simplicity of having less, I work to manage this massive amount of photos. While I may never find “balance,” I’ll work to enjoy more moments with my daughter rather than just capture them. I’ll work to live this life, remembering the past, but not being overcome by preserving it. Documentation is important, but being selective will add both meaning and sanity.

Keep the Faith,

Audrey Ann

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