For a while, it worked. I did remember to take the camera out of its goofy little zipper case and actually use it. I had dozens--sometimes hundreds--of cute, fun, silly, sweet Westley photos to choose from every month. Taking pictures felt easy and natural. I got down on the ground with Westley and photographed the world from his eye-line, simultaneously capturing his tininess and the world's vastness. I'd end up with lots of good images and quietly agonize over which three pictures to choose. "Your boy is so cute!" came the replies when I sent out "Westley of the Month" e-mails.
You have no idea, I'd think, reviewing the "rejected" images.
It's the last week of the month, and I'm looking at pictures. But this month, it's a different kind of agonizing I'm doing. Looking through October's photos, I realize I have almost nothing. I think back over the month and I wonder where it went, what happened. Was I there? Was I even awake?
It seems the answer is Not really. I've been so thoroughly submerged in my own murky unconscious lately that I've kind of missed the rest of my life. My tangible life. Several of my October posts are just mental gymnastics routines without much day-to-day stuff mixed in: hypothetical houses, hypothetical pregnancies, what if/then/but. Like I'm trying to fit everyone else inside my head with me. And it's crowded enough in here already.
Thinking, analyzing, and even what if-ing, can be interesting and productive. And they can also stop us from seeing what's really going on around us. Real images fall away as we become overly-invested in imaginary photographs. I stopped taking pictures when all I could notice was the intensity of my own thoughts.
Now I find myself a little heartbroken over losing so much of this month. It's not just about having only a few pictures to share with the people who love Westley but don't get to see him every day. It's about not stopping my stream of consciousness long enough to really notice my child.
That's not the way I want to parent.