This morning, like many mornings, one of my daughters got ahold of my phone. There is something so seductive about that little glowing rectangle that neither of them can resist. I understand its pull, the easy diversion, a quick hit of Facebook or Instagram, a one-minute email check, a message sent or received. I was only half aware that she’d taken the phone, and I soon retrieved it, and we both moved on to other things.
Later this evening, I stumbled upon the snatched minutes my daughter had captured—my husband and I in rumpled Sunday morning disarray, me still in pajamas drinking a cup of coffee, having a conversation with all three of them at once (three separate conversations, obviously). As I watched the video there was the inevitable discomfort of seeing myself but what struck me more was not how bad my hair looked or my pasty skin but instead the comfortable ordinariness captured on film. My daughter asks my husband what he wants for his birthday and he barks in jest, “Peace and quiet!” Then there’s a flash in the corner of the screen of my younger daughter as she trips and falls on something and I get up to comfort her, the camera all the while still rolling.
Watching the video, I had practically forgotten those particular minutes, indistinguishable from the rest of the day except for the fact that my phone had been hijacked by my daughter, a secret documentary filmmaker, capturing a tiny slice of our life. I deleted the video, because who needs all that clutter filling up their storage, and already I regret it. I can imagine twenty years from now, when my children are out of the house, watching a whole collection of these candid videos, and looking back longingly on the simple chaos of such a Sunday morning. These are rarely the minutes we bother filming because they’re so unmemorable, but perhaps this is what makes them important. Life is not all birthday parties, Christmas, and Halloween, it is made up of ordinary Sundays and harried Tuesdays.
So I will use the handy function that allows me to retrieve a deleted item so I can watch this gem some day in the future. In the meantime, I trust that both of my daughters will steal my phone often enough to fill it with snatched memories, moments that remind me to slow down, take a breath, and enjoy.