Anyone else feel birthday pressure? Like pressure to make your kid’s special day extra special? Pressure to make sure the presents are just right? Pressure to make sure the party goes off without a hitch? Pressure to recored every moment of every second of it in just the right way?
I don’t know if it’s just me trying hard to be the very best Mom ever or feeling the pressures of Pinterest. But I was feeling the birthday pressure this weekend. My son turned 3 on Friday. And my weekend was filled with presents, smiles, biscuits, ice cream and cupcakes, parties, favors, a fish-shaped piñata.
Please tell me I’m not alone?
That kind of birthday pressure I expect. This year though, was the first I promised myself to record with my camera firmly set on manual mode. And that was a whole different kind of pressure.
Because what if I messed it up? What if I was shooting pictures while he was opening presents or blowing out his candles, and because I didn’t carefully check my settings the pictures were over exposed. Or what if my white balance was of and everything was overly red. It’s happened before and it will happen again, I’m sure.
This is his third birthday. The only third birthday he will ever have. It might be the first birthday he will remember. And thanks to his big sister, he’s been thinking about his birthday for months. And I really wanted to make sure the moments were captured and recorded. And I really wanted the pictures to be beautiful too.
I found myself holding my breath a little when I loaded the photos onto my laptop after all the festivities. And I said a little prayer to the gods of photography to make some of the photographs keepers.
My breath actually stopped when I saw how good some of the photos turned out. How some of MY photos turned out. I used manual mode all weekend, for birthday presents, dinners, parties, games, and quiet. And there are some really beautiful images that make me excited to share them with you.
In the first photographs at the top of this post, Max is still holding the only food he wanted for his birthday dinner, a biscuit, when his ice cream and candle arrived. And the huff and puff as he blows out his candle is so perfect. I love the candle light! And at Max’s SCUBA Diver birthday party, he was so dirty from playing and digging with his school friends in his SCUBA suit and mask.
I took photos of my friends and Max’s friends. Photos of the fish and coral cake, the jump castle, and the piñata. And while the exposure was off on some and the composition was way way off on some others, I took enough good photos to feel confident in this road of photography.
“Our children grow up so quickly and nothing we do will slow that down,” writes Courtney in The Unexpected Everyday. “All we can do is be present, enjoy our time with them, and capture those moments we don’t want to forget.” And even if she doesn’t mean busy birthdays, it still applies.
With these photos as reminders, I won’t forget Max’s “three birthday,” as he calls it spreading his three fingers wide. And my heart feels so full, which I think shows here too. But more than all that, these photos show me that I am capable to making the big and small moments with my camera, that I can get the shot that I want. And that takes the birthday pressure off, just a bit.