For months we’ve been watching our daughter let go with her hands and stand on her own. In the past few weeks she would stand confidently and look towards where she wanted to go, then hesitate before dropping down to crawl.

So no surprise when we got the text message from our babysitter – “She just took three steps!”

Here’s a picture of the babysitter’s notes to us that day. “First steps,” just after “books and doggies.” (yes, our babysitter is great)

White board on refrigerator with notes about a baby.

I was literally thirty feet away sitting behind this very computer, and I missed them. Even the dogs got to see it. Apparently they were so excited they ran up and knocked her over.

I was also excited, of course. I doubt I’ve ever smiled bigger, despite being in this office all alone.

But was I sad to have missed it? Only a little. Disappointed that I don’t have a photo of her first step? Not as much as you might think.

Baby standing on beach mat holding mom's arm
Baby standing in tub on the beach crying

Here’s the thing – that first step is the event, a line item in our babysitter’s notes about the day. And while it is our point of reference, that single moment can only hold so much.

Good photos elicit a feeling, the same feeling that you had leading up to the moment and after it passed. And all the emotion that we (our dogs as well) feel in those pinnacle moments are really just a culmination of everything before and after them.

I have plenty of photos to remind me of what it felt like watching Maggie learn to walk. Photos that make me feel exactly how I felt as we watched her navigate the excitement and wonder (and frustration, too) that came with learning a new skill.

That’s all I need.

Baby taking first steps towards her mom.

Documenting your family in the way that I document mine takes time. Check out my Neighborhood Tour package for a great value on a half day session.

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