Friday, July 1, 2016

Remembering . . . and Forgetting

To reread my post about my goal to remember this year, click here.

My kids frequently ask me why I take so many pictures of the sunset. "You have a million pictures of the sunset! Why take more?"

I've come to cherish that singular moment every evening when I capture the sky and my place on the planet. Just a quick snapshot of a fleeting moment that will be gone a moment later. But it's a moment frozen in the timeline of my life, and when I compile them at the end of each month, I'm reminded of where I was and what I was doing on that day. And it never fails to make me smile and enjoy it one more time.
My kids asked me this month if I've missed any sunsets yet. The answer is yes. At first that "incomplete-ness" of my goal really bothered me. I set out to take a sunset shot every day, and I had failed in my goal. I guess that's one thing I'll always remember about 2016--I finally learned how to give myself permission to fail, then start again and keep going without beating myself up for falling short. That sounds strange, and I don't expect most people to understand. I've always been an "all or nothing" girl. Give it my all or give it nothing, with no space in between for half-baked nonsense or mediocrity. 

If I had given up the first time I forgot to capture a sunset, I would have missed remembering singularly ordinary moments like these:
a beautiful Phoenix night

or how the sky looked the night Brad and I celebrated our 27th anniversary at Cheesecake Factory then hit the "Going Out of Business" sale at Sports Authority and on a whim bought five boogie boards for our family vacation in California because they were on sale

or the Family Home Evening we spent setting up the new pool basketball hoop and the boys swam until way past dark shooting hoops and laughing and fighting and enjoying a 118-degree day's cooler night

or the drive home from our family reunion when the changing sky followed us across the northern Arizona reservation as I read A Lincoln out loud to Brad for hours while the three kids watched Zootopia in the back seat
All these moments that have passed but will never completely leave me

As Lily and her friend and I sat in the theatre last night, waiting for a production of Hairspray to begin, I cringed a little that I wouldn't have a picture to remember my last night of June 2016--how heavy the sky was with monsoon clouds and high humidity, how excited Lily was to see the show, how Sam was being a good sport but enjoyed himself a little more than he thought he would (or probably would like to admit), and how much joy I felt being in that moment. Instead, I opened the playbill and began reading the actors' bios. A little regret and then it was gone.

I've learned to let that little bit of regret go and enjoy the moment. And we did enjoy it.

I never imagined six months ago that sunset photographs would sync so perfectly with my goal to remember.


  1. Just as there are no two sunsets alike, no two memories are alike. All are unique and special in the eyes of the beholder. And yes, I do understand your "all or nothing" philosophy as I struggle with that as well. I'm still learning the lesson of how to rejoice in the successes and not focus on the failures. I love your photos as well as your words!

  2. I totally get the whole "permission to fail" thing. Sometimes, depending on the situation, I try to see how my little failures can shape up as my biggest successes. If I handle a failure well, I allow myself to count that as a win, because working on that unforgiving aspect of my personality is probably more important that whatever else I was doing, anyway. That probably would not make a lot of sense to other people but I'm sure you get what I mean.