A couple days ago, Charlotte asked me if I could take a picture of her singing to her sister. These opportunities do not present themselves very often – and, truth be told, lately I have been acutely aware of how many fewer photographs (and blog posts) there are of Evelyn as compared to her sister at the same age – so naturally, I acquiesced.
Then she asked if she could take some pictures of her sister on her own. Giving Charlotte the camera is one of my favorite things to do; I love to see the world as she sees it. So I secured it around her wrist, reminded her not to touch the lens, and let her have at it.
I am finding parenthood with two children to be immensely challenging. I feel like I am always a step behind. Several of my neighbors and close friends have three, four, five, six children and they somehow seem to have their act together. Then there’s me, always twenty minutes late, always a few hours behind on sleep, one child or another seemingly always sick.
But when I see these pictures, I don’t see any of that. I don’t see the time Charlotte was traumatized by my complete oblivion to Pajama Day at school. I don’t see the time I downplayed everyone’s concern about Evelyn’s symptoms, then took her to the doctor and found out she had bronchitis, a raging ear infection, and strep throat all at once. I don’t see the time Charlotte told one of her friend’s parents that Momma and Daddy “like to watch adult movies” (and sadly, she informed them, we don’t let her join in) or the time she screamed so loud that passersby on a walk stopped in to make sure I wasn’t killing her (I wasn’t, I just didn’t have the right color hairbow available when she wanted it) or the time I didn’t notice that Evelyn had thrown up while being carried on my back until long after it was dried and crusted into my hair.
No, all I see when I look at these pictures is joy. My babies laughing together, cooing together, enjoying one another’s company. And when I see that, the failures don’t seem quite as bad.