I’ve been taking LOTS of pictures of my kids. I’ve been capturing LOTS of video of them singing, eating, arguing, and laughing. I’ve been soaking in the strangely clear reality that you’ll never get back the minute that has just passed. That it’s a waste of time to bury your face in a magazine and say, “uhuh,” when your toddler says, “look, mama, look what I can do.” That it’s not absurd to document your children’s voices with a voice recorder going at the breakfast table. That it’s worth the time it takes to charge your camera and have it at the ready for a spontaneous outburst of Solid Gold dancing from your three year old. For someone who has to fight to find the meaningfulness in the mundane, these are lofty aspirations. But it’s like that one song says…”don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.”
Perhaps the melodrama was precipitated by the unexpected complete annihilation of the hard drive on our family’s computer. No warning, no reason, no goodbyes. Unfortunately, we found that no computer and no internet also meant total chaos. Two weeks without the internet and I felt as though I had landed in an unknown city with no phone book, no map; or as if I’d found the most colorful rack of clothes for sale at a store that’s not yet open; or it was as if all my friends thought that I’d died in a plane crash but had managed to move on with their lives without me.
The isolation was miserable, but the real sting came with the realization that I had three years worth of videos and precious photos of my children I had not remembered to back up. “Remembered” could also be taken to mean, “the-technology-world-is-new-to-me-and-not-high-enough-on-my-priority-list-to-figure-it-out.” And thus, I blamed myself. (and perhaps my husband…just a little.) First steps, first words, first trips to the potty…all lost. You see, Troy and I appreciate technology but we tend to fight it; or it fights us. We ask ourselves: why watch a rerun if you can read a book, why click a button when you can seal an envelope. For both of us, this 21st century disaster was the kick in the pants we needed to start driving in the right direction on the information/technology highway. Now, two weeks later with a new MacPro notebook, a new printer, scanner, an ipod, a nano, Photoshop CS3, a new Comcast digital high speed internet account, a blog for me, and podcasted sermons for him, I step on the gas, hoping to merge smoothly with oncoming traffic.
Friend or foe, my new computer will be the hardworking member of the household that will help us remember all the “firsts” that are to come. Perhaps this time, we’ll capture the first time we notice how great it is to all crowd on the couch with our Bibles for family devotions. Or, the first time we realize the tub’s not big enough for three boys anymore. And maybe, we’ll remember to take a picture on the first date my husband and I’ve had in a long, long time. Sheryl Crow says it best: “It’s not having what you want, but wanting what you’ve got.”