It’s 6:33. In the morning, not the evening. And I’m sitting at my computer. I’m not usually up this early by choice, but it’s the first morning after camp and something is different. I’m different. That’s the wonderful thing about experiences like this. They change you. They make you jump out of bed by choice at an ungodly (to me) hour of the morning to write things down, because you don’t want to forget…
Most mornings, I hear the door of the boys’ room open and realize it’s still dark outside. My first thought of the day is “It’s time to get up already? Why couldn’t they sleep just a little longer so mommy could get a little more rest?” Then comes the part where they climb into the bed, get under the covers, all poky knees and sharp elbows. The bed immediately shrinks to the size of a postage stamp. They cuddle close, searching for my body heat because the trek from their bed to mine has left their feet cold (very, very cold) and my skin is oh, so warm. As they get comfortable, I feel the taking of me begin. The taking that happens when you’re a parent to young children and your needs don’t come first anymore. I guess this is what they meant when they said “parenting is the most self-less act in the world. Don’t do it until you’re ready to give all of you to your kids”.
But today. Today is different. I’ve been away from them for 3 mornings. I’ve been inspired by the amazing women at Camp and their practice of shooting through gratitude, shooting with intention and shooting what you love. I’ve been thinking about my passion for shooting life as it is right now, in this very moment. I’ve been thinking about story and how even that seems too big for me. Stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. But that is too long for me, too drawn out. Because sometimes, when I think about the whole story, it overwhelms me. It reminds me that the BEGINNING of the week started off frenzied, with too many things on my to do list. And I immediately just want to get to the END so that I can finally exhale. What I’m finally realizing (thank you camp sisters) is that I leave no room in my life for the MIDDLE. The right here, the right now. When I’m focused on the END and just want to get there, I miss everything in the MIDDLE. It’s all a chore and I just want to get it over with so I can get to the END, to my prize. I know in my heart that the END never really comes. There’s always a new BEGINNING, and a new END. But isn’t the MIDDLE where the good stuff happens? Where the joy is? What am I missing by ignoring the MIDDLE?
Making this connection, right now at 7:07 in the morning, is blowing my mind. My Mind = Blown.
This morning, when I heard the boys’ door open, a small smile crept onto my face. I heard their quick, heavy footsteps and felt warm. Warmer than my blankets could ever make me feel. When they cuddled into me, I reached out and pulled them even closer. I welcomed the feel of their skin against mine, regardless of how cold it was. I listened as their breathing became rhythmic. I breathed them in and wondered how I could capture this moment with my camera. How I could remember that this morning, instead of thinking about how tired I was from getting to bed late and how many things there were on my to do list, I thought only about the good in that single moment in time. And how blissful it felt. How grateful I felt for my life. For that moment. In the MIDDLE.
That is my passion. Capturing the stuff in the MIDDLE. The stuff that gets lost when you think about the BEGINNING and the END of the story.
That is what I learned at Camp and I don’t want to forget.
What about you? Share a glimpse of what it looks like to be present and content in the middle?
Image and post Camp Shutter Sisters story courtesy of the awesome Wendy Tienken.