There are 3 things you should probably know about me if we are going to be friends. I sense eye-rolling from those of you who really do know me, because who are we kidding, there are of course countless other things that should warrant some type of warning about me. But, today you are only getting 3.
Number 1: I am not an easy friend. I disappear for LONG periods of time. When I resurface, you’ll need to be able to pick up right where we left off.
Number 2: I will laugh if you get hurt. Not seriously hurt like you need to go to the hospital. Just sort of hurt. Especially if it involves you hitting your head on something or tripping and falling down, but I will hyperventilate if you hit your head, fall down, and show your underwear. I’m only human and that stuff kills me. However, I will NEVER laugh if your heart hurts.
Number 3: I am not your best bet in an emergency. Seriously. One of my best friends fainted in my kitchen. She was walking to the other room and then just all of a sudden was making a beeline for the floor, head first. My husband swooped in and caught her, laying her down gently on the floor. Meanwhile, I was frozen at the kitchen table with my mouth hanging wide open. After a few seconds the first words out of my mouth were, “Is she dead?” And, if you are trying to be kind and give me the benefit of the doubt when it comes to my own child, don’t bother. I am hopeless. When I see an accident about to happen, I freeze and cover my ears. What the heck is that? Probably because I don’t want to hear the wails and anguished cries that I know will soon be following. I’m thinking it would be more helpful if I’d just use my hands to maybe catch her instead. I’m a work in progress.
So, imagine my surprise when I was the first to jump in to help a little boy that had wandered a little too deeply into the pool. His parents were right there with me and we were watching him have so much fun in the shallow end. A few steps too many, he could no longer touch and was beginning to panic. He probably would have been just fine. But I went all Baywatch-y and jumped into the pool, fully dressed. I did somehow manage to kick off my flip flops but I totally forgot about my phone in my pocket. Big bummer. But hey. For once in my life my instinct was actually helpful in a could-be emergency.
And that felt pretty good. And then I remembered that my daughter’s first ballet recital was on that phone. Gone. Just like that. To die the horrible death that all phones experience when submerged in water. There is no mercy for photos and videos unsaved. RIP phone. RIP photos and videos. Please say hello to your sister that drowned a few years ago after falling out of my pocket into the toilet. At least your death was noble, good sir. And at least I didn’t pee on you.
Of all the things I lost on the phone, the ballet recital was the hardest. I swore I wouldn’t be one of those parents. The ones that get all caught up in their children’s games and recitals. I am now so totally that parent. Now I get it. It’s just that my baby, the one that I was holding in my arms just yesterday, is up on a stage. Performing. And smiling. And having the time of her life. I sat there, spellbound and amazed. Her joy radiated out of her and touched everyone in the audience. I wanted to look around and scream, “Look at my baby! Isn’t she beautiful! Look at her go!” I was so incredibly proud of her and of who she has become. I looked around and realized that every single parent was feeling that exact same way. So there I sat on the floor in front of the stage (I had to be as close to her as possible, of course) and watched my baby dance. She would look at me every once in awhile, give me a huge smile, and then twirl around some more.
The best part of all? I watched it with my eyes. I watched it with my heart. I did not watch it with my third eye, the phone. I asked my 14 year old niece to do that honor. So when Hadley relives this memory, if she ever does, she won’t remember looking out at the audience and seeing her mommy with her phone across her face. She’ll remember that her mommy was right there, starring at her, smiling up at her with proud tears running down her face.
How much of life do I miss by trying to record it for some future time instead of enjoying it right now? A lot. More than I’d like to admit. I know she’s changing and growing so fast and I just want to hold on to her for a little bit longer. Yet, I’m so grateful that I was completely there for her recital. No video could capture what I saw with my own two eyes. That is something I will carry with me and treasure for the rest of my life. Plus, I know that I’ll be able to borrow someone else’s video since we all took one.
As a result of my “heroic” deed (i.e. overreacting), I now have a brand spanking new phone. I’m not saying I won’t use it to take countless pictures and videos. What I am saying is that I am going to make every effort to be completely there more often, in those joyful moments that I wish that I could bottle up and sniff every so often. Because when I am 100 percent all there, giving the moment my complete attention, it is way better than any photo or video. It is real. It is true love. It is life.