Without a backstory, the pictures seem to be happy enough.
In one, our little girl lays stretched out in the summer grass, a freshly picked flower in her dirt-stained hand, an easy smile spreading across her lips. In the other, our grinning baby snuggles on a soft blanket, his dark eyes shining while his little hands fidget, fingers knotted together.
They are beautiful pictures captured at very precise moments of what was otherwise a difficult and abbreviated vacation where both kids were sick, and I spent nearly the entire time ping-ponging between whoever needed me more. When recalling the last five days, the adjective insufferable comes to mind, as does the vivid memory of my son throwing up inside my bra.
But my photo stream would beg to differ.
In it, a photo of my daughter at dusk, reaching through the dark leaves of a shadowy tree toward a glowing bulb on a string of lights. In another, she and I laugh while the wind whips our hair around wildly, a vibrant blue sky behind us. In perhaps the most ironic of all, a shot of my sleeping son, who, for all intents and purposes, didn’t sleep while we were gone (and continues to not sleep as I attempt to write this).
To someone who didn’t know better, these pictures make it seem like a pretty idyllic vacation, though I can assure you it was not. Now this isn’t to say it was all terrible. Far from either extreme end of the spectrum, the last five days were actually just pretty standard when living with two small children who are the human equivalent of heatseeking missiles for germs. It was busy and chaotic, and bookended by visits to separate pediatricians. We lost things, and found things, and got our fair share of new bumps and bruises. There were tantrums and tears, just as there was laughter and play.
It was just the latter of which I chose to capture and share with the world.
My reasoning behind this isn’t to broadcast my perfect life, with my well-behaved and always lovely children (sarcasm font). Far from attempting to fake anything, the purpose behind taking (and sharing) beautiful pictures is borne out of a desire to be more positive, and focus on remembering (and acknowledging) all of the tiny little moments that could otherwise be buried in bra barf and massive, back-arching, floor-thumping, red-faced screaming banshee-type tantrums.
Of course, for the sake of being “real”, as if these moments didn’t really exist, I could post a grainy photo of me laying on top of my daughter, pinning all of her flailing limbs to her bed, while I hum to her and beg (and plead, and pray) for her to stop moving and pleasefortheloveofallthatisholygotosleep. I could caption a blurry action shot of me bouncing my baby for the second straight hour in an 86 degree room “I have butt sweat and my armpits smell like the inside of a moccasin worn to Woodstock…and every day since!”
But I don’t. Because we all know how hard it is. And sometimes it’s really nice to remember how it can be easy too, even if it’s just for a second.
All photos belong to HMDHM, except the cover photo, which I got online a long time ago, but can’t find the original source so if you know it, give a shout-out.