Live to Shoot, Shoot to Live -Is What I Do

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's no secret that I take a lot of pictures and have so much fun doing it!

But what many might not realize about me is that taking pictures is more than just fun; it's way more than just a hobby even. It's been a catharsis for me, an ever present therapist right in the palm of my hand.

Since Cayman has been born I have taken, oh somewhere around a zillion pictures of her! I want to never forget the miracle of each milestone. The beauty of each smile. And especially the kicks of her spunky personality. The pictures I take and the stories I write along with them, have the power to sharpen my memory greater than any other tool.

The photos Mike took of Cayman just minutes after she was born and all the photos during her 3 week stay in the NICU have been groundbreaking for me. You see, my heart aches that I missed Cayman's birth. We did not get to experience her first cries or watch her move and wiggle when they pulled her out into this world. I didn't get to see the look on Mike's face when he saw his first born child, for the first time.

My entrance into motherhood was far from what I dreampt it would be. The hour I finally met my daughter face to face, I was just coming off of General Anaesthesia and pumped full of morphine. The drugs had me feeling loopy and I can not recall much from those first precious hours of Cayman's life. But the pictures that Mike took of our brand new baby Cayman, they have given me the chance to feel like I was there, apart of her arrival. I have looked at them about a thousand times. I have watched the videos over and over again of us holding her and sitting next to her side while she rested in the NICU.

All of those saved files are so precious to me. Without those images all I would have is an unclear memory fogged up from so many unprocessed emotions at the time. Those pictures have brought comfort and healing to my heart. They have pulled those precious memories out from the dim corners of my mind so I can hold them even closer to my heart. They allow me to have another chance to take it all in again but this time with a clearer mind.

I wish I could do the same for the months I was pregnant with Cayman. I find myself searching for those captured memories. Pictures or videos that would help bring my fuzzy memories to the surface. But at last, my heart sinks as I realize, I let that valued span of time in my life go by without capturing much of it. I had no idea how greatly that would hurt me today.

I have sat and tried to make sense of why I let that happen. I guess it was a time when I was not working on remembering life but just getting through each day. But I have gone through enough events of grief in my life to know that the reminding memories that make the pain feel worse at the present time are sometimes the very ones we end up holding the dearest to our hearts later on. That is why I am so surprised that I let those precious months slip by uncaptured. Even in my grief, I should have known better. Those pictures would have always been precious to me.

I find myself ohhing and ahhing over the images of an expecting daddy kissing and loving on his wife's preggo belly. My eyes sparkle at the captured moment of them embracing each other.

You know, there is not a single picture I have of Mike and I together when I was pregnant with Cayman. That stings my heart terribly. Especially since I will never have that opportunity again. It makes me want to run out, start my own photography studio and take pictures for every pregnant mama out there so she can forever have a sharp memory of that precious time in her life.

My mistake was not experienced in vain though. It has taught me to soak in the mundane, capture the day-to-day stuff, record the thoughts and emotions along with it because you never know when even the most ordinary pictures you take might someday be groundbreaking to you.

Many, many months ago, I shared this video of Cayman's first minutes of life. I hope you don't mind that it's a repeat. But then again, some things are worth repeating especially when they're this beautiful. :)

20 Showin' Comment Love:

Anonymous said...

Oh Kris,
I am sobbing now as I watch this video. It's so amazing seeing how far Cayman has come!! Our situations are nothing alike and so different so I cannot say I know what you were going thru in these moments of life, but I can say God uses you, your life, and your little miracle in huge HUGE ways. Ashalyn sat on my lap and watched this video so contently, when I set her down because I was crying so hard she cried with me...she wanted back up and just stared, then stared at mommy and then back at baby Cayman and just smiled saying baby!! She is truely blessed to have Cayman as a friend, and Nicholas and I feel very blessed to have you and Mike as friends. Even in the midst of our troubles we take time to pray for you guys!! We love you!!

Anonymous said...

Dear, dear Kristen. My heart echoes all of your words. I took so many pictures during Olivia's first year...and I think somehow my heart new I was going through that year in a fog...and that later on I would need to see the beauty of her as a baby and the memories of that time. What a beautiful post.

Beth said...

I know it isn't the same - but I have very few pictures of my pregnancy with Brooklyn. I was still in complete shock that I was having another one (we'd been so careful - or so we thought). I mean Bella was 6 months old when I found out I was pregnant again and I'd just started a new job and we were moving at the end of that year (less than a month after she was born) - seriously - another baby! I have a few pictures of me holding Bella while I was pregnant with Brooklyn - but I don't think I have a single one of Bran and I. I was determined with Brady's pregnancy that I wanted and was going to get pregnancy pictures made! And we did - and I love them. I think I cherished each moment of Brady's pregnancy because I knew we were done and this would be my last. But enough about me.

I started reading your blog when you were pregnant with Cayman - so you do have your blogging to fall back on! I remember being in awe of you in how you and Mike were handling the unknown with Cayman. And look at how well Cayman has done - she is a living miracle and that is in whole due to the loving parents she has!!!! She is definitely your legacy!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you soooo much, Kristen! As a newer Cayman fan (and you-fan) I was reading raptly hoping you would show some of those early photos of Cayman. Nominating that video for an award - my heart is given. right after birth.

Beautiful post - a worthy representation of your beautiful life. Barbara

bensfm said...

That video brought tears to my eyes.

I found your blog quite some time back through Lisa's blog,and have been reading you almost as often as I read Lisa! I have enjoyed looking through your eyes at your beautiful daughter.

Krissy said...

i loved the video, it really touched my heart! Cayman is so beautiful and miraculous and loved! Thank you for sharing that

Joyce said...

This is Joyce. Oh the beauty in this video is beyond description. The love of daddy's voice and his touch is straight from heaven above. Such an incredible gift you all are.

//J said...

Just like someone said at the beginning of the video "you are cute"!

You are so right, beautiful things are worth repeating. Wishing you all the best! Again and always.

Sherri said...

ok, I'm bawling too. Just want to say- I love you guys. Thank God you have that video! just beautiful.

Sue said...

What an awesome piece to read and watch today....thank you for being so open and sharing your life...your ups, your downs with us. You have a beautiful family!

Gabriella said...

It's the first time I see this video, and I need to get up now to get tissues. These images, your words...they are so, so similar to my experience. I just can't get over how calm Cayman appears upon hearing the voice of her daddy. Somehow, she seems like she knew things were going to be ok and her family would love her no matter what. I also was touched by how much your husband wanted to reasure her and touch her despite the craziness of that moment, and despite the fact that he needed to hold that camera! I felt that connection through the lens. God bless you and your family.

Lisa said...

Beautiful post, beautiful Cayman, beautiful family, beautiful you.

Thanks for sharing this with all of us today. The world needs more people like you, that's for sure.

(I see that my friend Diana left you a comment {Bensfm}! She is wonderful)

*Monica said...

I watched it again and I cried again. What precious priceless gifts children are.

Kacey Bode said...

Kristen, BEAUTIFUL post!! I have to agree that photos have been theraputic to me as well. I was struggling with so much on the inside and knew that I wouldn't clearly remember all the milestones (hard earned milestones) without some help. I cannot tell you how many pics I have of Ella.....

I watched the video AGAIN, I don't know how many times I have watched it and yet it never stops being amazing, I never stop crying. Cayman is a miracle indeed, by any definition!!!!

SuzanSayz said...

lkhsljuKristen, you are wise beyond your years. This post was so beautifully written and you perfectly, expressed that sadness that I think just about every mother feels when she realizes those things she forgot to pay rapt attention to at the time.
I know that I let way too much of that precious time slip through the cracks of my mothering years. My children are all adults now and I would give so much to have the documentation that you and Lisa have of your children. Not just the pictures but all of those lovingly captured bits and pieces of childhood that are so easily scattered by the realities of day to day life.
So often we older mothers feel the need to warn young mothers to enjoy EVERY second of their babies. We know how quickly the time flies and how before we know it they have passed all of the childhood milestones.
I feel sad that you don't have the time of your pregnancy preserved. But I can only smile to see how well you are aware of that which matters the most. You are doing just as you should Kristen and you will always have so much to teach and share with those women you meet who need a mentor to gently show them the value of motherhood.
Your little Cayman is so darling. She has the confidence and joy that children can only get from loving and nurturing parents.
If only every mother could be as wise and wonderful as you.

KajnBlonde said...


What a wonderful, beautiful heartfelt post.
I look forward daily to your blog. No matter what kind of day I have had, it warms my heart to see your words and pictures of Cayman.
You are so very, very talented. I think you would make an awesome professional photographer. But one thing that I really think you should give some consideration to is...writing a book. Your gift of words are truly amazing.

I have said it before...and I will repeat it.... Cayman is so lucky to have you as a Mom and Mike as a Dad.


Grandma Cindy said...

Dearest Cayman - Thank you for being "YOU"! Thank you for being such a little fighter - a survivor - with such a delightful spirit! Thank you for listening to your Heavenly Father and not to those crazy doctors...Just keep amazing them! You bring such joy and amazement to our family. Our lives are so blest because of you! I LOVE YOU DEARLY Precious Baby Girl!!!! That video never gets old and it always brings tears of joy and thanksgiving, as well as, amazement. XOXOXOXO

The Soldatke family said...

The first time I watched that video, I bawled. The second time (I pulled it up about a month ago because, among other things, I love that song..I downloaded it from her site!) I cried equally as much, and now watching it a third time has proved no different!

I'm so glad for all the zillions of photographs you take. You will always cherish them! And you've taught me (slowly-it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks) to remember to capture my kiddos doing daily stuff.

I love you my friend!

Amy J. said...

I love how at the very beginning of the video the nurse gently rubs Cayman's sweet.

I too am lacking in pregnancy photos and have the same regrets.This post was so beautiful, thank you for your touching words.

Ann said...

Your beautiful words have once again brought tears to my eyes. I am so blessed to know you and call you friend! You are beautiful inside and out!