I’m trying to convince myself that it will be all right: we are still having fun, still having a good time, still creating memories. But, in the pit of my stomach is the knowledge that something dreadful has happened on our vacation: we have lost our camera. This grand disappointment occurred the second day of our family getaway. I can still visualize the few shots I got on that first day, which only makes me feel worse since I will never see them again.
There was one picture taken on a hike with Daddy leading the way followed by three perfect stair-step boys. Then there is another picture I took on day one where two of the boys are wearing their 4 wheeler helmets, the youngest has the cutest gleam in his left eye as he looks up at his older brother in complete adoration and excitement.
We took the camera with us on a 4 wheeler ride, my regrettable idea. My husband dropped it once, but came back and retrieved it. From that point on neither of us can remember anything else about our camera. We don’t remember having it when we got off the ATV’s, we don’t remember putting it on any of the cabin’s counters, and we don’t remember thinking we didn’t have it either. A mystery. It wasn’t until later that evening when the boys were sitting on the dock down at the lake with their bare toes skimming the top of the water that I thought, “Oh the perfect shot. I must get my camera.” At that moment I realized I had no idea where the camera was located.
With Biblical zeal I looked for my lost coin, I scoured every corner, swept every cupboard, looked in every logical and illogical location at least five times, but unlike the spiritual parable, there has been no rejoicing over the once lost camera now found, instead utter befuddlement.
That first night after I realized my camera was gone all I dreamed about were possible locations my beloved Kodak might be resting, waiting for me to find him. I could hear my beloved memory maker calling for me to rescue him. I was sure he had flown off the back of my husband’s 4 wheeler as we raced over mountain trails. So, I made my husband retrace our adventure, nothing. I kept hoping a lone hiker would knock on our door and hand us our lost friend. Sadly, my fantasy was not becoming a reality.
I try consoling myself that when we pack up the cabin at the end of our retreat, I’ll find that black case and red camera just sitting down in our luggage waiting to be found.
We’ve moved on. I have tried to release my loss. I want to enjoy my vacation, but this disappearance has made me realize something about how I live and vacation: a big part of creating memories for me is capturing them on film. I am the documenter of small and large events in my children’s lives, and it makes me sick to think that this family vacation will have no digital memories, just the ones we c an hope to remember in our minds.
I remind myself that many of my best childhood memories do not involve photos in an album. They are mine and mine alone. I am the sole keeper of these treasures. Surely my sons will capture these family adventures we make this week…forever. I’m taking special attention of photo-worthy-moments and trying to etch them into my mind. I value memory; I’ve always had an exceptionally good one.
However, I’m noticing something: the longer I live, the more memories I have, the more I am forgetting the most recent ones. Those old ones, those early ones, I never seem to forget. And that is why I’m still sad about not getting to preserve this family vacation with my trusty ally, my camera.
Instead of being in charge of my memory and what gets filed away forever, I am leaving it up to chance and my mind to sort out the important memories versus the forgettable.
I truly hope my mind sifts these picture perfect moments to the top of my brain, and that these short years when my boys all love and adore me are never forgotten in this cabin by the lake.