We had a very full weekend; in fact, it just doesn’t get much better! The perfect combination of sports, fun, family and ‘car candy’!
The challenge as a photo mom is to figure out a way to capture it well and enjoy it at the same time. The idea is to be confident enough with your camera that you aren’t stressing over the all important photos that will, by Monday morning along with the dirty laundry, be the only proof that the weekend happened. Your every day life is so important to celebrate and your photos will help you do just that!
We started with a fun ‘bonus’ visit from Aunt Donna! She only comes a few times a year but decided to squeeze in an extra visit to get to experience a triple header: the boys Opening Day/Game for baseball, Melissa’s State Gymnastics meet and a college visit with Adam (which was near the meet).
The opening day was so fun! Even though we got rained out for the actual afternoon game, the morning festivities marked the official beginning of spring ball…and we had our new uniforms!
(candid group shots with teams can be hard, try different things: sitting them all on the top bleacher helped keep them ‘still’ for the shot!)
The excitement was plenty ….
as were the hats…
but eventually so was the rain : (
So, we gathered the crew a little ahead of schedule, packed up our very smallish-feeling van and headed 4 hours down the road to the meet.
(sign photos are good to help mark the event just in case you forgot where you went!)
Melissa has prepared hard all season for this State Meet. Gymnastics is a very complicated blend of skill, mental toughness, nerves and will. For us moms, this has to be one of the hardest sports to watch as your kids are doing back flips on a 4 inch plank of wood way up in the air, catapulting off vaults, swinging off high bars and pretending that the ‘floor’ is a trampoline. Thank goodness baseball is played on the ground, that’s all I have to say about that! I am not sayin’ that it is the hardest sport out there but …well maybe I am. Every meet that goes by seems to get harder on this mama!
So, what makes a good meet?
Is it the perfect coaching?
or the perfect skills?
or the perfect equipment?
or the perfect handstand?
Is it the perfect hair? Complete with bows and glitter?
(I keep meaning to ask…do moms get points for rolling 30 little foam rollers the night before in the hotel room with 2 little boys jumping on the bed yelling?)
Is it a perfect beam or floor routine ?
Is it a perfect score or ‘place’ on the awards podium?
We all know that there is nothing perfect about it….
…that is what makes it ‘perfect.’
So what really makes a great meet great in the eyes of a 13 year old girl?
It is the warm teary celebration hug when your teammate just accomplished a skill for her first time! At State!!
It is about knowing for real that your team ‘has your back’ (especially when you have an itch!)
It is the feeling in your heart that you know you did your best… you ‘fed your good wolf’ and made your beam series and nailed your best bars….2 goals you set for yourself.
And you had a blast doing it!
Plus you get a few new medals for your bedroom wall and they gave you a cool new purple leo for the girls who are representing your state at Regionals… with ‘diamonds’ on it!
It feels good to ‘place’ at State there is no way around that, but a great meet is also about loving relationships that get a chance to say ‘you are important to us’ and ‘we believe in you.’
It is about your little brothers supporting you for 6 hours and staying out of trouble.
It is about your aunt flying down from Chicago and about the fun celebration afterwards….. (and your mom trying to take the dreaded awful restaurant table photo.)
And being embarrassed when your mom makes you all stand together for another photo in the parking lot in front of someone else’s car while people are walking by watching…and it is cold….
and then realizing that (once she does a little crop) we are glad that we have a happy reminder of the weekend of us all together…and you might just want to put this one in the empty frame that is on your dresser.
it is about standing next to your older brother who is in college and you miss him but can’t really say…and smiling when your mom wants one more photo (even though the ‘gutter’ is growing out of your head! ….(oh well…. note to self…mom photo tip: always watch the backgrounds!!)
It is about forgetting toothbrushes again (and getting new ones at the hotel) and packing pillows and blankets and getting ‘car candy’ with your allowance when we stop for gas….
and making a fort with your blanket in the back seat with your little brothers and loving their 6 year old silly faces and charm….
and agreeing with their movie choices… because you are the big sister.
At the end of the day, it is about the ‘life glitter’: the extra little fun stuff that fills in the gaps and makes everything sparkle. … It is also about your girlfriends and coaches and family-fans; the people you love …. and the family trip – – that is what makes a great meet great when you are 13.
We love to celebrate Melissa and her accomplishments and her placing in the top ten in the state. But of course, more than that, we are so thankful that she has the amazing opportunity at the age of 13 to learn so many things that this sport teaches her … and us…… about life: the discipline, the pay off, the goals, the humility, the love and the friendships…..we are so blessed.
I really don’t want to forget this meaningful stuff that is sprinkled on the top of our daily life. The simple things make it all worth it. That is why I pack my camera, because on Monday mornings I need to remember the richness of the blessings. I can’t afford for those memories to fade with my laundry.
These blessings in our life simply must be documented and remembered and enjoyed. My photos help me do that. Your photos will help you do that too.
Use your photos to love your family… just a little bit more.
photo mom tip: even though I know that you want to enjoy the special moments and events in your kids lives, remember to take the photos. You are the family photo journalist. You must get the photos as they are important for your stories; they fill in the emotional details of your life where words fall short. You will be so glad you asked for the group shots by the cars : ) Learn to ‘tell the story’ with your camera and don’t be shy.
most of the indoor gym shots were shot with a very high iso, a very low F-Stop and I tried to keep the shutter speed over 1/200…. unedited… because I have a car to unpack!