I had the diapers, wipes, bottle, sippy cups, snacks, extra clothes, bandages, bug spray, kitchen sink, pacifiers, blanket, back-up blanket, and the stroller. I counted a couple times and I for sure had all the kids. I even went the extra mile and remembered the husband.
My little family was totally prepared to take on the local county fair. We parked, packed up, and made the trek across multiple fields to the festivities.
Once we had the kiddies on their first ride I went to pull my phone out to capture the classic fair ride photo. I had a moment of panic when I realized that the familiar hard case was not in my pocket. My memory then flashed to me putting my phone on the car seat after I pulled out the baby. So there my phone/precious camera sat.
I contemplated making the journey back to the van. This was a short-lived idea because my desire for my phone was much less than my desire to not walk an extra mile in my sandals. The only logical solution was to suck it up and accept that this family outing would not be digitally documented.
I had a brief moment of disappointment. The whole point of the fair was to have fun and create happy childhood memories. Without photographic evidence how would my kids remember how much fun the rides were, the yummy treats we caved for, or the one-on-one time with the overly friendly goat? I will fully admit that I participated in a temporary pity party for one. But it wasn’t more than a few seconds before hearing the squeals of my kiddos coming from a giant spinning bear pulled me right back up.
I couldn’t help but notice all of the parents around me who were attempting to capture memories in exactly the same way I would have if I was not such an easily distractible human being and lost track of my phone in the first place. Videos and photos were being taken and then the gaze of the parent would shift to looking down at their device instead of up at their children. They were missing the good stuff, which meant I had been missing the good stuff too.
As the evening progressed I found myself truly enjoying the experience of the family adventure. I wasn’t hung up on getting a picture and watching my children’s joy through a screen. I had the opportunity to witness their happiness completely unfiltered. We were making vivid memories instead of photos and videos.
A generic photo of a fair – remember, I forgot my phone?
Now, am I advocating for a total abandonment of our digital companions? Absolutely not. I’m writing this article on my phone for goodness sake. Also if I never had the opportunity to play Farmville again I would be incredibly disappointed (who would tend to my crops… who?!).
Instead, I’m simply saying that there is a benefit of going on a digital diet. Taking a couple pictures and then putting away the phone gives you the best of both worlds. You have your digital memories while being able to partake in the experiences that are worth making memories about in the first place.
For now, I’m going to stick to my digital diet plan. A few cherished pictures and childhoods full of memories of Mommy enjoying and truly participating in all of the fun.