We spent a night in London, which was wonderful. We got to our room at 3.45ish and rather than going into London we just stayed in the room the rest of the afternoon, ordering a bottle of wine, juice for the boys, room service food and watching Cbeebies then You've Been Framed. The boys had a bath and then we all settled down for cuddles and sleep.
The following day we made our way to the Eurostar, managing to drop a passport onto the track as we boarded and almost loosing tickets and my husbands phone in the process, and we headed to France for a 3 night break at Disneyland Paris.
I took my DSLR and planned to take lots of photos, even packing a spare SD card feeling sure I would fill them both. But I didn't.
There were moments that I wanted to take photos, but I didn't, simply because it would have meant letting go of Harry's hand for a minute or two, not so much worrying that he would run off but that I would miss out on that contact for a minute or two, because in no time at all he won't want to hold my hand. Or missing out on a reaction from the boys at something, or missing out on something they've said.
I got a little stressed when the parade came along on the first day and we were stuck sat on the pavement and I had Harry on my lap. I wondered how I would get the perfect photo of the parade and of the characters and then I thought....who cares?! The most important thing was to sit and enjoy the parade, to show Harry and Charles the characters we had been discussing for so long. Watching their reactions as everyone walked past, taking in the magic, the music, the atmosphere, and choosing which of the characters I would rather dress up as if I had to work there.
I took photos of the parade, of course most are not in focus and are blurry but when looking through them when we returned home I didn't care.
I felt a little disappointed of course, but then remembered why I didn't get these perfect shots.
Because it wasn't about that. It was about being with my family. Enjoying my family and our time together. The photos will help to share with the boys in years to come but I feel I would prefer to say "look at these, they aren't perfect because we were having a cuddle and we were dancing along to the music" rather than "look at these, you both had to sit with daddy so I could get these photos for you". The memory of the snuggles and the sways are a lot more important.
I realised that whenever I go somewhere I don't always take photos just for us. I take photos of what I think other people might want to see, on here or on Facebook but I didn't do that this time.
I had plans to video the firework show at the Disney Castle and although I took photos of the Castle all glittery before the show started I then put my camera away, collected Harry out of the hired pushchair and held him tight as we watched and shouted "Wow" and pointed out all of the characters and colours that we saw.
I didn't want to video the castle just to show people on Facebook, there are plenty of videos on Youtube for that.
When we got home I felt glad that I put my camera down a lot more. I took the important photos of us with characters and little things I don't want to forget. I looked over my photos when we got back and realised that they aren't all perfect. My settings are out on most, a lot are out of focus but to me, they are fab and I don't need to impress anyone else.
Why are they fab to me? Because they are proof I had an amazing few days with the most important people in my life.
I placed a select few photos on Facebook and realised something else, which is why not all of the photos I took went on there. This isn't a new realisation, more of a reminder I suppose that social media has almost completely wiped out simple, general conversations.
People just want to see photos. Back in the day (yep, I'm old) it was all about conversation. Telling people about what you got up to, what your favourite ride was, what your childs favourite ride was, what the weather was like, how long you spent in each park. People wanted to hear about your experience, and now it seems it's as simple as piecing together a story from photos, and it really makes me sad, and it's part of what makes me want to shut things away, to somehow force questions and make a conversation happen.
Not only was it nice to just spend that quality time with my family and to switch off from the pressure I had put on myself when it comes to sharing our lives, it was also nice to get some perspective and to understand what is important and to realise what I expect from people in my life. To realise how much of myself and my family I want to freely give away and how much I want to be wanted from us and requested from us.