My almost four-year-old snapped this photo.
She swiped my phone off the couch while I was nursing her baby brother.
"Smile, mom!" she cheered.
I knew the camera was pointed at me.
Without taking my eyes off little brother I yelled, "Please don't take my picture. And put my phone down now!"
I didn't even acknowledge her. I just yelled at her request. After all, I was tired from entertaining three little children inside on a freezing snow day.
And I didn't realize she actually snapped this photo until later that evening when I scrolled through my photo reel.
The bad angle.
The sweet little baby head.
The tired face of a mom who feels like a failure when she recounts missed opportunities.
My almost four-year-old is growing so fast. She's not a toddler anymore. She needs more of me. Do I acknowledge her enough?
I quickly made a silly promise to myself to smile for every single photo from now to eternity.
Because the longer I looked at the picture, the more and more mom guilt started to swell up inside my heart.
I scrolled through my photo reel some more.
And then I saw a photo from exactly one week earlier. It was another snow day. I drove my daughter to her dance class as white powder fell fast on the windshield.
I remember stopping before we got to the studio door.
"Look at all this snow! Let's take a picture!" I cheered.
We had big bright smiles on our faces and fluffy white snowflakes in our hair.
The flattering angle.
The magical snow.
The happy little girl.
The smiling mom who loves her daughter so very much.
I delight in watching her grow. I hope she always needs me. I want her to feel fiercely loved forever.
On all the snowy and sunny days to come, I hope she knows how much I love her.
I am not defined by an unflattering photo on my phone or a frustrating moment in time. Missed opportunities make for much mom guilt. But I am not guilty, I am graced.
Yes, I am graced with so many snow covered snapshots that fill my heart with love and pride.
My photo reel will always be a mixed bag. I know I won't be smiling in every single photo from now to eternity, but I can do my best to fill my life's album with love.
Yes, I'm just gonna keep on scrolling.