And what I realised today, as I scrambled to find my camera, is that photos have come to be the biggest symbol of family for me. As the little battery symbol flashed "low" and I hurriedly dried my hands enough to use the camera, my heart was literally racing... what if I couldn't capture this moment on film? What if I couldn't send it to my family and share the joy of the moment with them? What if , when Tilly turns twenty-five and asks to see photos of her first bath, I have nothing to show her? Luckily, the battery held out just long enough, but it got me thinking about cameras and what they mean to me.
Ever since we started our 365 photo-a-day project back in February, I've felt so much more connected to my family. We remember to share things... the big things (goodness only knows how many people were waiting for the first photo of Tilly!), but also the little every day things: my Mum walking the dog, my Dad en route on a business trip, my brother making lasagne, my aunt's new table cloth. And I'm so grateful for that. You'd think that a family spread so widely around the globe --England, Texas, China-- would undoubtedly lose touch a little. But I really feel that the distance has inspired us to find ways to be connected, in a way that we probably wouldn't have been if we'd lived closer.
You should have seen us when my parents and sister were here visiting a few weeks ago... there must have been ten different cameras lying around between the phones, the digitals, and Alice's Polaroid and antique film camera! And on the last day, as they were leaving, the car suddenly stopped, and all three Duffies jumped out, cameras in their hands, and each of them took several photos of Justin, Tilly and me in the doorway...
... and it made us feel loved. And if I hadn't had a Tilly to hold, I'd have been taking a photo of them driving off!
We take photos of times and people and places we want to remember, and I want Tilly to be able to look back all the way to her first day of life and say, "People love me. People have always loved me. People have wanted to remember how I look every day of my life."
So, I'll be stocking up on batteries, and making sure there's a camera on hand for every moment.