November 11, 2014

How Children Remind us of Impermanence.


As a stay at home mom to my 20-month-old daughter, Emma, my days are filled with beautiful moments.

Sometimes she comes to me with her lips out, asking me for a kiss. She snuggles into my chest, burying her head into my shoulder. She talks nonstop, telling me what everything is, so I don’t miss a thing. Her little voice calls out items as she sees them: puppy, balloon, shoes, Elmo, slide.

Sometimes I try to capture these moments, without much success. I pull out my iPhone and do my best to convince her to look at the camera.

“Cheese!” she yells out, while running so quickly that when I take the photo, she is just a blur.

It makes me laugh, the way that she knows to smile for the camera, but won’t stand still long enough for me to actually get a decent picture of her.

There are the hard days when I want to pull out my hair out: when food is smushed into the living room carpet and the toys are beeping and Emma is wailing about Elmo.

Then, in the middle of the chaos, she will start dancing with a funny face and I simply sink to the floor and start laughing.

Sometimes, she disappears into the bedroom and comes out with my yoga mat. Then she promptly lays it out and starts exercising. “One, two, five,” she counts, while moving her legs and rolling over.

She beckons me to come join her.

So I get down on the mat with her and do abs, while trying to teach her the proper way to count. As I lay there on my yoga mat, I can’t help but think how I wish I could capture this moment.

These moments are fleeting, yet incredibly magical, funny and beautiful. I can’t blink for fear of it being over.

A few months ago, I tried something new. When Emma and I are snuggling on the bed or laughing or dancing, I pretend to take a picture. “Snap!” I said, while clicking my finger down on an imaginary camera.

I love when my daughter snuggles her stuffed animals and tries to feed them.


She empties out my closet, dropping each item into the hamper.


I try to leave the room at night, and she calls “mama”, so I bend down to see her in the crib and she kisses me through the slats.


she says and blows me more kisses as I gently leave the room.

“Snap, snap, snap.”

She dances around when she hears a song she loves.


I find myself dancing with her, incredibly grateful.

I wish I could hold onto these beautiful, silly moments before they slip away. I understand now that I can’t really capture them.

Instead, I am reminded of our constant impermanence.

These days with Emma are fleeting; she is growing and changing in front of my eyes.

There is nothing for me to grasp onto.

I can try to take pictures with my iPhone, but by the time I look at the photo, the moment is over.

On those rare occasions that I manage to get a great photo, I know that it can’t capture the scent of her baby hair or the mischievous glint in her eyes.

I chose instead to use my imaginary camera.


I say softly as we dance around the living room to the Frozen soundtrack and make silly faces. Emma’s giggles fill the room and I can feel my grateful heart bursting with joy.

In these moments, I don’t even bother with my iPhone.

There is no camera in the world that could truly capture these beautiful, magical moments anyway.


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Author: Becky Tountas

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock


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