When my kids were born, it seems that all I could do is capture every waking and sleeping moment of them. I have multiple cloud drives full of these photos and it warms my heart to know I have them. This habit continued on through their first steps, themed birthday parties, holidays and random moments of cuteness. I continued to pay for and habitually fill up these cloud accounts with reckless abandon.
And then came the divorce.
Through the heavy months and years of separation and divorce, the photo and video stream slowed to a trickle. Part of the personal transition from ‘dad’ to ‘single dad’ was the ‘show must go on!’ I needed to re-calibrate, plan ahead and leave room for random acts of fun.
Kids are kids and they still expect (and need) things to carry on. Birthdays. Field trips. Hikes. All of it. They need to get the Solo Dad version. You cannot force the happiness on them but if you can find it in you they’ll happily follow along. Do your best to make fun moments happen. Let go. Let go of the juice stain on the new rug. Let go of things piling up in the background, it’ll all get done. Let go of the looming deadlines and quotas at work. Turn on the video camera and keep building memories.
Not a Planner? Get over it and try something new.
Are they going to remember the weeds in the side yard or the broken lawnmower? Nope. Are they going to remember the time you let them invite a bunch of their friends over for a backyard camping ‘trip’? You betcha’.
Your kid has two parents, two homes, maybe even two bedrooms, and two sets of clothes. They also deserve the legacy of two sets of memories so don’t forget the fun and the camera. And before you know it that photo and video stream will start filling up again.
One important sidenote, invest a few dollars in some sort of tripod so you can get in front of the camera. Most parents are a bit distracted and/or camera shy, but I guarantee the kids will cherish any moments of ‘young’ dad in front of the camera long after you’re gone. Not sure what to do when the camera is in your face?
You’re not the only one. One trick I use is playing the deadpan reporter amidst the fun and commotion, It allows me to add a date and time stamp so I can figure out time, place and age of the kids.
Regardless, here are some apps that make it a bit easier to keep track of things; Once you open an account with Qeepsake you can ‘text it’ photos of you and your kids. The app will ask you questions about it that become captions if you ever want to print it out as a traditional photo album. ArtKive is cool. When your fridge starts filling up with sketches and paintings, put them in a box and mail them to ArtKive. They’ll make an art book out of them and upload photos of them to cloud storage for safe keeping. And of course, Google Photos does a similar thing, as does Amazon Prime.