This Should Be A Birthday Photo (But It Isn’t)

This week it was Charis’s second birthday. Yes that’s right – my little baby is 2!

Birthday Planning

As soon as the school summer holidays were over, I started planning Charis’s birthday. There were presents to buy, cakes to decorate, and activities to organise.

I love birthdays! I love hunting for that perfect present. I love wrapping it up in crisp, brightly coloured paper. I love hanging bunting and blowing up balloons. I love the squeals of delight as the children bound down the stairs in the morning.

Time Flies

“Treasure every moment. They grow up so fast”

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard this. And what sucks is… it’s absolutely true!

I’ve just watched my eldest start her 2nd year at school. It seems just days ago that Charis was starting to make baby noises and now she’s bossing me around! And I’m positive I only gave birth to my baby a few months ago, yet here I am writing a birthday card with a big fat number 2 on it!

photo birthday cards

Time really does fly, and in an effort to not forget a single second, I’ve become photograph-mad! It’s so easy these days to whip out your phone and take a quick snap:

  • On the swings
  • In the bath
  • At the table
  • In the garden
  • By the flowers
  • In the buggy
  • On the beach

It’s so much fun looking back and remembering the good times.

The Birthday Photo That Wasn’t

But yesterday, I missed the major photo opportunity of the entire day – I missed the cake!

Even back in the dark ages when we used film instead of digital cameras (the horror!), there was always a photo of the birthday-girl blowing out her candles.

But I missed it.

It had been a busy day and we were rushing to get the cake dished up and eaten before bedtime. We did the whole candles, lights-out thing, and it wasn’t until halfway through our enthusiastic rendition of Happy Birthday, I realised my error!

And in that split-second, I made an important decision – this moment was for living in and enjoying now.

photo in the night garden cupcakesCharis was beaming as her face was lit up by the dancing candlelight. Jenny was singing with gusto. And hubby was proudly holding the cakes we’d painstakingly created together. This was a special family moment. One that I wanted to keep forever. But instead of reaching for the camera, I lived the moment and revelled in it!

I don’t want to continually view my life through a lens. I want to live it! I probably won’t remember the scene as clearly as a photo might have done, but I enjoyed it, and so did everyone else.

That was the birthday photo that wasn’t!


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  1. 1
    Fiona Cambouropoulos

    An important lesson for us all, it is so easy to get wrapped up in social media and blogging and worry more about “that photo” than living the moment. The moment will stay with you in your head and the cakes look beautiful. Happy birthday Charis

  2. 3
    Fran Back With A Bump

    It’s so easy to get wrapped up in taking photos isn’t it? I very nearly added a couple of photos to Instagram over the weekend and then stopped- and thought why? Some things don’t need sharing and mean more to us. I hope Charis had a lovely 2nd birthday and liked the cupcakes you made! Thanks for joining us for #marvmondays x

  3. 5
    Heather Keet

    I’ve worked in daycare for years and parents always ask me what other’s biggest regrets are and I always say pictures. Then I clarify and say the taking of too many pictures. They don’t actually remember the event because they were so busy snapping a picture of it. When I was 20, my family home burned down and took all the pictures with it. Nothing can take the memories. #DreamTeam

    • 6
      Lucy At Home

      It can be so easy to slip into the mindset that we have to photograph everything. I’m sorry to hear about your house, but it’s a good reminder that we can’t hold onto everything, no matter how hard we try. Thanks for your comment. L

  4. 7

    On one hand it’s wonderful that we can capture every moment because cameras are so accessible but on the other it’s easy to get lost looking through the lens instead of actually looking! #MarvMondays

    • 8
      Lucy At Home

      Yes it’s great that most of us airways have a camera with us (on our phones) so we can just snap away and capture those precious moments. But it’s about trying to find a balance I think. Sometimes we just need to enjoy the moment.

  5. 13
    Alana - Burnished Chaos

    My baby turned 2 in August and I still can’t believe it. My oldest is 7 and it still feels like yesterday since he was born. Time definitely goes too fast. I’ve found myself getting so wrapped up in photographing things that I actually miss experiencing the moment for real and have tried to stop myself as much as possible and enjoy just being present x

  6. 15
    Rhyming with Wine

    I am so guilty of this. I go mad at the hubby when I ask him to catch a picture of something and he just snaps one photo and then just chucks the phone aside. We all know that you have to take at least 274 pictures of every event to get just one half decent image! (By which time the whole event has passed you by and you spent the whole of it pointing and clicking rather than just enjoying). Very well said lovely x #DreamTeam

    • 16
      Lucy At Home

      Oh my hubby’s like that too – I asked him to take photos at my 5yo’s birthday last year because I was running the party but he kept putting the camera down. I got so frustrated, I just ended up doing it myself! Ha!

  7. 17
    Devon Mama

    Great post! My husband loves to film everything and I feel like he misses being IN the moment because he’s trying to capture it. It’s so hard though now with all the social media side of life and wanting to share everything. Well done on making the decision to enjoy it rather than try and capture it (maybe we need pro photographers to just follow us around like celebs to do the capturing for us!!)

  8. 23

    Happy birthday Charis! I think this is an important lesson – don’t worry at at all about missing a photograph, it is far more important to experience it. If you weren’t a blogger you probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought. I am lucky to have many good photographers around me capturing moments I might miss while I am living in the moment! #sharingthebloglove

  9. 25
    Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons

    I totally understand this! When you take lots of photos it’s easy for you to feel like you’re missing out on those special occasions – behind the lens rather than being part of it. I try to hand the camera to someone else on these occasions, and although I’m never happy with their photos, I prefer to be part of the celebration. Happy 2nd birthday to Charis! Thanks so much for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • 26
      Lucy At Home

      Yes it feels so much nicer to be able to switch off and just enjoy the occasion. I think especially as a blogger when you have to be “on duty” so much of the time because you never know when inspiration for a post might strike.

  10. 27

    At my son’s birthday party I didn’t snap a single photo or record a video even my hubby. All the photos and videos were sent to me from our close family and friends that were invited #SharingtheBlogLove

    • 28
      Lucy At Home

      That’s the great thing about technology these days – it’s so easy to send photos, and also loads of people will be taking photos at events. We’ve got a photo album from our wedding that is totally made up of photos that our guests took – it was lovely to see things from their perspective, as well as have the official photos. Thanks for commenting. L

  11. 29
    Laura - dear bear and beany

    Its so easy in these busy moments to forget. Only today I forgot to take a picture of my daughter all ready for her first school disco and I was really annoyed with myself. But then I thought I was actually there to see her for myself at the disco and those moments meant more than the picture. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x

    • 30
      Lucy At Home

      It’s so difficult to try and find a balance. I think the key is just to go with the flow – take the photo if you want to, but don’t worry too much if you forget 🙂 Thank you for commenting, Laura. L

  12. 31

    It’s hard to not get caught up with taking a million photos of our children. There are no pictures really of me when I was a baby and thats certainly not the case with my boys. We must all live in the now, it really does go by so fast!! #thelist

    • 32
      Lucy At Home

      Yes I certainly wouldn’t want to go the other way and have no photos. And I’m very aware that there are hardly any photos of my eldest and I when she was a baby, so I’m trying to take lots of group selfies of us so we can all be in the photos. I’m just trying not to let it get in the way of us enjoying stuff. Thank you for your comment. L

  13. 33
    Mess & Merlot

    Good for you! This is lovely, sometimes I’m tempted to reach for my phone and grab a quick photo but decide to just savour the moment instead, I’ve never regretted it. I actually feel sorry for kids these days and sometimes wonder if they get fed up with the constant photo-taking and just wish we would actually WATCH them. Really nice post, must remember to do this more myself- or at least get Himself to take the photos 🙂 #ablogginggoodtime

    • 34
      Lucy At Home

      Yes it’s totally different world that they’re growing up in, isn’t it! Sometimes my 5yo will actually refuse to smile for a photo now because she gets so fed up with it all. It’s definitely something that I’m trying to be mindful of.

  14. 35

    I never manage to get decent birthday party photos of any of my children’s birthdays! It’s just always too manic! I am so guilty of this though- I document therefore I am, or something like that! Aiming to live more in the present in future!

    • 36
      Lucy At Home

      Oh yes it’s so busy. We usually host our own parties for them at home so we’re on the go the whole time! But I love to document stuff and write records about what we’ve done. I’m with you: live more in the present in future!!!

  15. 37
    Bridie By The Sea

    Oh Lucy, your blog is fast becoming my favourite – this is such a great reminder that I often need! I am always chasing Emma round the park trying to grab her attention for a snap but know I should enjoy the moment together. Fantastic post as always, thank you for linking up to #dreamteam xx

    • 38
      Lucy At Home

      Oh you are too kind, Bridie! What a lovely thing to say 😀

      It’s so hard because they’re precious moments and you want to capture them and keep them forever, but at the same time, stopping to take photos all the time can take away from what is happening. It’s so hard trying to strike the right balance. Thank you for your lovely comment. L

  16. 41
    Dave - Dad's Turn

    Oh no! We feel that we take so many picks that sometimes we just don’t bother, and that’s when something great happens. Never mind. I have over 23GB of pics and vids of Little Bear. I’m sure there’ll be less for a second one 🙂 #MarvMondays

    • 42
      Lucy At Home

      Hehe yes the first child definitely gets the most photos. For my eldest, I have a folder full of photos on my computer for every month of her life, but the second one… well it’s now more a case of general family photos with the odd one of her on her own. Poor thing!

  17. 45
    Kirsty - Motherhoodery

    Definitely live in the moment. I wrote a similar post last week so couldn’t agree more that we all spend too much time behind the lens and sometimes miss the moment for the sake of a photo. So important to remember we need to be present. x #TheList

  18. 47
    Mum in Brum

    You’re so right about always grabbing your camera – I’m terrible for it and often think that I need to get it out less and just enjoy the moment. I have far too many photos – but I think that comes with being a blogger. And if I left it to the hubby we’d have none! Sounds like a lovely birthday occassion x #TheList

    • 48
      Lucy At Home

      I’ve got far too many photos. I try and organise them and keep them in properly labelled folders, but sometimes it just gets overwhelming (especially the photos from my phone, which just tend to be a couple of photos from all kinds of different places)

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