Anyone who has small children at home can tell you parenting is an intense business: intensely good and, let's be honest, also sometimes intensely bad. One thing it does force you to do is always be absolutely in the moment. Although in some ways this is a positive way to live (a lot less unnecessary extistential angst, for example) it also does tend to mess with your memory. Although my daughters are only 18 months apart, I have a hard time remembering in any truly concrete way, for example, what Mia was like when she was Lilly's age. Bits and pieces are there of course, but overall my memory is more like a sketch rather than a fully-realized painting. I have heard the same story from other parents, so I know I'm not the only one.
This lapse of memory is one of the reasons photography is so important to me. It gives me a chance to document my babies, less in a typical "snapshot" way, with them smiling and posing and, in so doing, not really being themselves, but rather photographing them in their day to day lives, in the everyday moments. When I look at these photographs I can see Mia; that little mix of a wisp of cloud and devilish girlie; and Lilly; so gleeful and friendly and solid. Though my memory may be faulty (and is likely to remain so), when I see them in a photograph from a week or a month or a year ago I recognize them, as they were, without words. There she is, as she is and was.