The day I rejected the camera
It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but I chose to leave my camera closed.
My daughter is, like each one of my kids, able to fill me with fierce, burning pride. She’s past many of the milestones of childhood, most of which I have snapped on camera and saved in albums. There may not be too many moments left for me to capture, but I felt so much better for not taking a video or pictures of her last week.

Small achievements, big pleasure

She loves playing the violin. She’s dedicated to it. As difficult as those initial scratching months were to get through (for the rest of the people in the house, too!) she has persisted and become able to produce a decent tune.

Last week she was invited to receive a cultural award at school for her progress in violin, and I went along to watch her receive it. I hadn’t expected much apart from rows of blushing kids filing onto the stage in front of their parents to receive certificates, so you can imagine how excited I was when the programme listed her as playing her violin along with the string ensemble.

My daughter, on stage. Performing in front of hundreds of people.

I don’t know if she’ll play violin forever, or if she’ll pack it in the way I have with the trumpet- it’s hard to play an instrument once you’ve left school and have no fellow musicians to play along with. I have no idea if she’ll ever be on stage again or even if I’ll be around to see it. I hope she does, and I am, of course.

I watched the other parents filming their kids with pride, something I have done in the past, and I didn’t feel judgement, but for some reason my inner voice told me to just watch, immerse myself in that moment.

So that’s what I did. I watched her as she took up her concentrating pose, as she counted herself into the tunes and kept the pace. Her face was serious, but her smile lit up like a firework after the last note faded into the clapping. She smoothed her hair back and glowed with pride as she crossed the stage to lay her violin in its case.

And although that’s a moment I will never be able to pick out of a box or flick through on a computer screen I will never forget it. I can close my eyes right now and relive it- her happiness, her achievement.

I’d recommend the experience, too. Recording is fun, revisiting those recorded memories is fun, but it can never burn with that intensity of the moment.

Are you a compulsive recorder of your child’s every experience, or do you sometimes just enjoy observing a moment for pleasure?

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