As you already know, we spent the last week or so on vacation with the family. And it was wonderful. Glorious even. Lots of quality time with family and nature, two of my favorite things. Gorgeous beaches, delicious meals, sun in abundance. And on the last full day of our trip…we lost our camera. There is no need to get into the details, the what-ifs, the price I would pay just to get that memory card back. I literally get a pit in my stomach just writing this. But it’s gone, despite the heroic efforts made to uncover its whereabouts (thanks Mom and Dad). That’s all you need to know.
I don’t want to admit the caliber of meltdown that followed this discovery on my part. Even though I am known to be easily brought to tears, the hormones of pregnancy seemed to fuel the emotional fire in a way that no one in my family had seen before. All I wanted were the pictures. Of my family. Of my bump. Of David and I, which sounds weird but honestly we take surprisingly few pictures together and this trip we made a point to do just that all the time. The completely baffling nature of the camera’s disappearance only added to the frustration and injustice of this loss.
The more worked up I got, the more I realized that I had to calm down. So I used breathing, meditation, logical thinking and making sounds like ‘grrrrrrrrr’ while clenching my fists, my favorite anti-anxiety remedies. And through this I realized some things. Some things that are obvious (except when in a hormone induced frenzy of angst), some things that I guess I never really would have admitted before. Such as:
- Pictures aren’t memories. Pictures help capture memories, pictures are often an important part of memorable occasions. But the pictures don’t make the memories, the awesome trip we had still happened, and was still awesome, even if we never saw one picture of the events (which won’t happen, since we were with 4 other people who took pictures) we would still have the memories of the things that happened. In this age of digital (ie: instantaneous) photos and Facebook obsession, it almost seems like some people (perhaps me, at some times) take pictures to prove to yourself and others that something happened. And some people probably take pictures enough to actually alienate themselves from what is happening right in front of them. And now with the ability to delete and edit photos on the spot, we can prove that any event happened in the way we want to show it, not necessarily in the way the camera would pick it up without the posing and the cropping. For example, if we ever found our camera you would see on that memory card that I deleted any photos that showed signs of the Oprah arm-flaps I am sporting.
- I should have put my pictures on the computer, or used two memory cards, when on a trip this long with so many pictures that I loved. This could fall under the category of ‘shoulda coulda woulda’, but I mean this in the most logical and emotionally distanced way that I can. In practical terms, this lesson could prevent the level of disappointment we felt upon losing our camera if this ever happened again. Which it could. Things get lost, broken, stolen, whatever. Life is like that, annoyingly enough. Now as we shop for a new camera, which isn’t in the budget but is important enough for us to have to make special accommodations, I will keep this in mind and plan for multiple memory cards AND a small label with our name and phone number. The camera and pictures we had are gone, but no need to make the same mistakes again!
- A camera is an object. It’s not a person or an animal and losing it, as far as objects go, isn’t that devastating when looked at objectively. It always sounds trite, but the truth is that in the scheme of things this is nothing, means nothing, compares in no way to the suffering and stress that many people face in their daily lives. When we got home from Puerto Rico on the heels of a day of devastating tornadoes here in Minnesota, I heard a woman who had lost her home and livelihood say, tearfully, how glad she was just to have her life and her family since the rest is ‘just stuff.’ She kept a stiff upper lip while facing all that debris, and yet I had mourned a tiny camera. Granted, I don’t think she was pregnant, and I will use that as a defense until the day I am not pregnant anymore. It’s ok to get upset about losing something, especially something sentimental and intangible like photo files, but it is also important to get over that part of it and realize that after some tears and making some ‘grrrrrrr’ sounds the loss of a camera should really be chalked up to a shoulder shrug and an ‘oh well.’
All that said, those lessons being learned or relearned, here are a few images from paradise, courtesy of mom and sister.