"The days are long and the years are short."
Any parent with small children knows exactly what this means.
The cartoons, craziness, and chaos make for a very long day. The seconds can feel like hours as bedtime or naptime lurks in the distance and you feel like you're stuck in a twilight zone of cleaning the same messes over and over and over and over and over again.
They call this "chronos."
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
You wait for your spouse to get home from work to help shoulder the beautiful burden that is the tiny human that you created. They are so loved, these little miracles. But let's be real. They're exhausting. Tick. Tock.
Then there are these magical moments -- although brief, they're pure magic.
Time just stops.
The sunlight illuminates the iris of your child's eye in just a way that you can see galaxies and starbursts inside it. Their eyelashes close in slow motion over the perfection that is the window to their soul and you hold your breath. You can't breathe as you connect the constellations of freckles that dapple their cheeks and you lean over and kiss them. Smell them. In those moments you exist only to wonder at your creation.
I learned awhile back that these magical moments that I live for can be referred to as "kairos."
The Greek's referred to this as "God's time."
There is no tick tock. Time is suspended. You are fully present.
It's during those still moments that you realize how much that little face has changed.
Where is time going?
When did you get so big?
You realize that time has been passing rather quickly outside of the blur that is parenthood. You become so absorbed with the day-to-day that you miss the transformation because your too close to see it. The years are short and they just keep coming.
What a funny concept.
The problem is, you think you have enough of it.
Working in the local NICU as a neonatal nurse; Lauren Ostrander sees it all. She sees babies fighting for their lives every single day and works hard to keep them breathing while assisting and educating those tiny patient's parents. In that same building, her coworkers treat the ill and work to save the lives of our mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers -- she leaves work every day knowing how lucky she is to get to go home to her thriving family but is also very aware that she is not and never will be promised tomorrow. Her husband Todd runs two businesses and is a self-proclaimed workaholic, something Lauren fears will eventually take its toll.
"I need to do a shoot," she told me.
"I want to remember my babies, while they're still babies... I want to capture everything. Chasing Todd, loving up on the kids, us together as a family. The tears, the smiles - whatever happens. We never get pics as a family and I certainly am never in them because I'm the mom and I take all the pictures."
We talked a bit more and decided to tell "the story of family pictures" -- I'd come to the house early and document them getting ready and then head to a nearby amusement park. Since there is a toddler involved, flexibility was key so the documentary session really worked best.
Because toddlers don't pose. Period.
As planned, I showed up at the house to document them getting ready.
Mickey Mouse echoed through the house as a small dance party ensued in the living room. The baby lay in her pack n play silently, watching her brother spin around and dance along with his favorite character. The cats lounged about and I took out my camera to begin.