You know that thing that's always going around the internets about being REAL in our online lives? The stuff about being honest and open and not filtering the bad stuff out of our social media feeds? About not projecting an image of perfection that other people feel they have to live up to? Can we get over that?
It's no secret that I love Instagram. I'm intentional about what I post and am unashamed at the fact that my feed is a carefully curated collection of my life. I DO THAT ON PURPOSE. And here's why. I definitely struggle and have un-pretty moments every single day. Of course I do. Like every other parent out there, I spend my days teaching the same lessons over and over and over. I pick up cereal off the ground. I fold the blankets and rehang them every hour. I wipe bottoms and herd cattle into the car and answer a million questions about giraffes on the Serengeti. Somedays I don't yell, but lots of days I do. This is what my life looks like right now.
But I triumph, too. After months and months of practice Christopher has mastered his peanut butter sandwich making. Matthew can buckle his own seat belt, when he feels like it, and climb into the car on his own. Both boys ask me serious and thoughtful questions about Jesus and talk about ways they can be kind to their friends at school. Emily smiles and giggles and blows spit bubbles at me when I change her diaper. We bake scones or decorate cookies and I don't freak out about the mess. These are little tiny moments, yes, but also big giant glimmers of love and light in my everyday.
So I'm always prepared and I readily snap the camera on my phone. When we're bored and have nothing to do and are feeling goofy, when we're working hard on a fun project, when we've mastered a new facial expression, when we're looking calm and cute and peaceful for a nanosecond. I snap the camera on my phone. I take pictures of these little moments, spend a couple seconds making them extra pretty, and I post them to my Instagram account.
So yes, my Instagram feed is filtered and polished and pretty. I make it that way because it helps me single out and remember the really, really good stuff. I don't want to look back at this time and see a running verbal and visual commentary of the hard parts. I hope that rather than dwell on them for years to come, I'll let them shape me today instead. I hope and know that they're already making more more patient and kind and accepting of grace. I hope that in 30 years, when I'm that grandma in the grocery store, I'll stop the young person with all the kids and say, "gosh, it goes so fast" because shoot I'm starting to realize that actually, IT DOES. I'll be the first to tell you that my day often feels about 52, not 24, hours long. But late at night, after I've hashed out the hard parts of the day with Niall and we've made a game plan for whatever trials tomorrow might bring, I'll sometimes grab my phone and scroll through my own Instagram feed. And that visual reminder of my pretty, beautiful, full-of-love life is the best reminder I've got right now of the stuff that really matters.
From the cutting room floor...a few snaps saved on my phone, and to my Chatbooks account, but not shared on my Instagram feed.