The Webb family headed off to the North Carolina State Fair for some serious memory-making today. It's been a tradition of ours since Daniel was a toddler. This was our 15th year in a row.
We rode rides, chowed on junk food, petted livestock, gawked at giant produce, laughed, and generally acted silly.....and not a single picture was taken. Not a single video captured for upload onto YouTube. Not a single tweet was tweeted or Facebook status updated.
But we certainly did see a lot of electronic data being transmitting.
I was stuck particularly by one mother who stood back from a ride her young child was enjoying. The ride went in circles, with the child waving at his mother each time he passed. Unfortunately, his mother was hidden behind her phone attempting to capture the moment on digital video.
This is not an uncommon occurrence. I'm reminded of watching the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Every single member of the American Olympic team paraded past with their phones out, snapping pictures and videos of each other, the crowds, and themselves.
And I thought, "These people are so busy trying to capture the moment, that they are failing to live in it."
I like pictures, don't get me wrong. I'm a mother of four children. I treasure the pictures that have been taken of them as they grown. I look back on them and wonder where my babies have gone. And I would be hard-pressed to remember as many details of their young faces as I do without the help of digital photography. But I have not watched every precious moment of their lives through the lens of a camera.
But it seems that our culture has become obsessed with capturing fleeting moments and sharing them with all of cyberspace. (We take pictures of our food before we eat it, for goodness freakin' sake!)
It's okay to put your phone down and not update your status or snap chat or load pictures to Instagram every day.
I swear that it is okay to just watch your child go around on the fair rides without capturing the moment. It is okay to just wave and smile each time he passes. You may miss a great photo opportunity, but if you're hiding behind your phone, you're missing the moment altogether. I promise you that the pictures and videos won't do it justice anyway. Often, it's better to just be in the moment, to soak it up fully, to focus and commit details to memory. Your memories will be better than the pictures...and it might help the people you're sharing the moment with remember them better, too.
Don't miss life by trying to capture, because it will get away from you every time.