Thursday, July 11, 2013

The best moments

It's no secret I like to take pictures. I take hundreds each week, and that number would be much higher if my children actually liked having their photo taken. 

I love photography, but it's more than that. I like capturing moments, whether candid or posed, whether I'm behind the camera or someone else is. If everyone's dressed up, I want to have permanent proof. If we're going to the beach, we need to remember the day with a picture. If it's a random Tuesday and the mood strikes me, I want to never forget how my daughter smiled when she was six months old. I like freezing moments in time, especially (only?) happy moments.

Then the other day Ryan saw a tweet from a Sports Illustrated writer asking if any of his 85,000 followers had a photo of the single best moment of their life. It was something the writer was thinking about after watching tennis player Andy Murray win Wimbledon, and having what was most likely one of the happiest moments of his life photographed by thousands.

Ryan actually does have a photograph of the happiest moment of his life, so he responded to the tweet with this...

It's, understandably, one of my favorite photos ever. And not just because I'm holding my daughter, my very first child, for the very first time. It's because of the look on Ryan's face. Pure love. But I also know it's more than that. I might be wrong (we've never discussed what he was actually thinking here) but I'm guessing it was everything wrapped into one - seeing his daughter, but also seeing his wife holding their daughter after years and years of infertility heartache. I feel like I see him finally exhaling in this photo, thinking about how God was leading us to this moment with Clara all along and we finally made it.

The writer ended up re-tweeting Ryan's tweet, along with many, many others. Then today, our photo was included in a story on The Atlantic's website about the tweets of people's happiest moments.

I loved the article (make sure to read it if you get a chance). It made me realize that, as someone who loves capturing moments with photographs, I had actually never thought much about the moments in my life that had been captured.

We all have those moments, and often a few tie for the top honor. I think back on them from time to time, but I don't have the photos prominently displayed (with the exception of the one Ryan tweeted above; it's been on our fridge since we first arrived home from Louisiana and found that my sister-in-law had already mailed it to us). What a gift they are, though. And with all the time many of us spend feeling down, sad, frustrated, overwhelmed, why not look back on those moments more often?

So it got me thinking about what are some of the other happiest moments of my life. And, it turns out, I have photos of them all.

Like this one...

And this one...

And this...

And while it's not right up there with the birth of my children, this one still captured one of the most joyful nights of my life (it's Ryan and me receiving a standing ovation from family, friends and strangers, after the premier of our documentary about Eucharistic Adoration)...

These aren't all the best pictures. But even that makes sense - they're spontaneous and candid and the movement that comes with happiness often makes for blurry shots anyway.

I'm blessed to have these photos. And, more importantly, to have had the joyful experiences that they captured.


  1. Love it! Can't wait to read the article! :)

  2. Thank you for posting this! It's so true...I have to capture so many moments too, but I don't take NEARLY as nice of pictures as you do:). The pictures of both Jason and then of me meeting our son (we met him on different days!) are SO blurry and low quality because they were taken on cell phones. But at least we have them! Love your pictures:).

  3. I love photography for that reason too! My favorite picture of all time is the family picture taken in Bella's birth family's house by her birth grandmother of Mama, Daddy and Bella on the day we met her. If you look at our faces, you see pure joy after 9 years of heartache!

  4. The best pictures are the heart pictures ...

  5. What a sweet sister-in-law you must have!

    1. That's right!! That was super sweet :)