I’ve spent the last year trying to hold on. To every moment. To every milestone. To every snuggle, kiss, smile, head on my shoulder, laugh, hug, all of it. I’ve been trying to hold on to all of it because my baby has been growing fast, so fast, and while my baby has been growing, it’s made me realize how much my other babies have already grown and how much I’ve already forgotten.
So I’ve tried to hold on tight. So, so tight. And the tighter I have tried to hold on, the more I realize that I can’t.
I will forget.
I will forget.
I will forget.
I have struggled with this fact. I have ached over this fact. I have fought this fact. And still I have been reminded again and again that I . . . will . . . forget.
I’m the type of person who likes to look for lessons, to look for things to learn in objects and situations and the world around me and life. Eventually I came to the point where I started to accept that forgetting is inevitable. It is part of every person. Part of every life. Part of me. I started to accept the fact, but I kept looking for the lesson in it all. I kept thinking and looking and waiting for my answer to come to me.
It finally came in a podcast.
“Even if your memory does [go away] that doesn’t mean that you are unchanged, which is not something that ever occurred to me . . . but an extra rain changes the world. Flowers grow that wouldn’t otherwise have grown if that rain hadn’t fallen . . . so just because you don’t remember something doesn’t mean you’re unchanged by it.” *
Just because you don’t remember doesn’t mean you are unchanged by it.
This felt right. This felt true. The purpose of each moment is not to remember it. The purpose of each moment is to change me, grow me, teach me. The purpose is to take all that I need from that moment and then let it go.
Like breathing. How many breaths have I taken in my life? Uncountable. Do I remember any of them? No. But each breath gave me life. Each breath has built upon the last. I have taken what I need from each breath and then I have let each of them go.
So instead of worrying about these moments slipping away, I can breathe them in. Deeply. Hold them close, cherish them, take all of the things I need from them, and breathe them out. Does it mean I’ll stop writing things down, stop taking pictures? Of course not. But it means I can breathe. I don’t have to remember every, single thing because even if I do forget, it is still a part of me. Even if I don’t remember, I have still been changed.
*Full disclosure-What the quote from the podcast actually says is, “Even if your memory does get obliviated.” That’s right, obliviated. As in Harry Potter. As in your memories getting magically wiped away. I said I like to look for lessons in the things around me, so the podcast “Harry Potter and the Sacred Text” is just the right thing for me. Funny, contemplative, and, well, Harry Potter. Seriously the best. Thanks Casper and Vanessa for helping me find answers to life’s questions!
Also, in case you hadn't noticed, my daughter is totally wearing a Star Wars t-shirt with Christmas leggings, and I took these pictures in July. What can I say, she loved those leggings. They had candy on them so who wouldn't?
Bethany Allen is a photographer in Southern Utah. She photographs families, and loves photographing children as they really are. Because we as parents can't remember every little thing, she wants her pictures to bring back all the memories and personality when families look at them years down the road. She lives in Cedar City and considers herself a lifestyle and documentary photographer mix, but really just focuses on love.