If A Tree Falls in the Forest And You Don’t Instagram a Picture of it…

…did it really fall?

I have been known to do a good amount of instagramming. Since reading a book in middle school where one of the characters carries a camera everywhere because she doesn’t ever want to miss a memory, I’ve been obsessed with taking photos of important events. (Yes, I take cues for life from books. Brandon would say this is why I was a weird kid. He would be right.)

I always feel the pressure to document everything, out of a little social media FOMO (fear of missing out, as the kids say it these days). I’m worried that if I don’t take a picture, I’ll forget what happened, as if the whole event is completely invalid if it isn’t saved securely to my iCloud and uploaded to my Facebook or Instagram.

As Brandon and I drove to the mountains for a week of camping with his family, you can only imagine my horror when my phone went completely dead halfway through the drive. There are no chargers in the mountains. This means there would be no pictures.

How would I ever document my trip? How would anyone know that I:

* Caught 11 fish and wrestled them out of the water with my worm-covered hands
* Wore a big sun hat with pigtails and my obnoxious Michelle Obama tee shirt
* Ate some awesome campfire food
* Attempted fly fishing and wasn’t one bit good at it
* Had some quality time with Brandon and his family?

As I sat in front of the campfire and tried not to get eaten alive by ginormous mountain bugs, I surprisingly didn’t feel any FOMO. I wasn’t upset by the amount of photos I didn’t take. I wasn’t worried about remembering my experience, because you know what? It was pretty darn memorable, even if it’s now not so instagrammable.

To give you an idea of what went down, here is the one photo I took, along with some awesome stock photos. Enjoy.

Taylor In Pigtails and Sun Hat

The one photo I took. You can’t see my eyes or the fact that Michelle Obama’s face takes up my whole shirt.

Tent

There’s Brandon peeking out of our accommodations. Pretty comfy.

Fire Clip Art

Sitting around the campfire was one of my favorite things.

Fried Egg Clip Art

Brandon’s dad made some delicious breakfasts.

Clip Art Trout

I caught 11 trout, and named each one. Templeton is the classiest trout you’ll ever meet.

Cartoon Girl With Pigtails Blonde

As you can see, I was pretty excited to be there.

Couple Walking Clip Art

And there’s the happy couple. Our height difference isn’t as obvious here.

What do you think about photo-taking? Is it helpful, meaningful, or distracting?

Xoxo, Taylor

My Dad Deserves An Award for Putting Up With Me

Tomorrow is Father’s Day, which is a time to appreciate how much our dads do for us, and how much they put up with our ridiculousness.

There are a few times that Dad probably should have disowned me, but didn’t. And I appreciate that.

  • That time I accidentally cracked his rib when I was little while we were roughhousing
  • That time I almost broke his nose by punching him square in the face for absolutely no reason at the family barbecue
  • The numerous times I probably kicked Dad somewhere I shouldn’t have when I was little because I thought it was hilarious

But in all seriousness, my dad has done more than most dads have for us in half the time. Dad works out of town, and so he’s only been home for roughly half my life, but we’ve never been shorted. Dad has been there for field trips, for school events, and holidays whenever he could.

Dad, Mom and I at Football Ball

Dad, Mom, and I on the night of my sophomore year dance.

It’s really easy to say you’re a “family man,” but my dad is the closest thing to a family man you could meet. His days off are spent helping around the house while mom is at work, helping us with school stuff, and spending time doing things with us. He rarely does “nights out with the guys” or takes time to do things for himself.

My dad is selfless and caring. If you’re sick, you can guarantee that Dad will be dedicating the day to cooking for you, checking on you, and doing anything within his power to make you feel better. That’s just the kind of dad my dad is.

He’s also highly tolerant. As I hinted at earlier, he puts up with a lot. Living with three women means living with three times the sass. He deals with a good bit of banter, and always takes it in stride.

Dad and Jordan Wear Onion Goggles and Aprons

Dad and my sister rocking the old-fashioned aprons. Dad is also sporting the “onion goggles.”

My favorite thing about my dad is that he has never been afraid to join us in the things we enjoy. He shoots zombies on Left for Dead with my sister. He’s donned old-fashioned aprons with us in the kitchen. He is a star at Wii hula-hooping. He knows most episodes of Spongebob, our childhood favorite, by heart. Just last week, he sat down with me and sassed women with bad wedding dresses while I watched TLC’s Four Weddings. (Let’s be real, Dad doesn’t even like watching wedding shows.)

The Family on Halloween

I am so lucky to have the dad that I do. Happy Father’s Day to the best dad in the world! (Dad is also amazing at grilling/smoking/cooking meat, so I’m going to be appreciating that tomorrow over a prime rib dinner.)

What do you like best about your dad?

Xoxo, Taylor

Football and Family: A Reflection

Football has always been of the utmost importance in my household. Sundays were sacred game days, which meant making hearty homemade soup and gathering around the television. If you even dared to change the channel, you’d hear it from Mom. And if you didn’t change the channel, you’d still hear it from Mom. She and Dad would sit in the living room, loudly “coaching” whichever teams happened to be playing, while Dog #1 would try to jump on Mom’s lap, mistakenly believing she was in pain and in need of consolation.

The Super Bowl was a big deal in our house, almost more of a big deal than the other national holidays. Mom always said she didn’t like having big parties because she didn’t want to “chat with the women,” she just wanted to watch the game. Super Bowl meant trays, bowls, and dishes of barbeque wings, taquitos, chips and dip, and other miscellaneous heart-attack-inducing snacks. I’d sit around and wait for the commercials, not particularly interested in the game, and Sister’s attention couldn’t even be held for that long. We’d eat until we were stuffed, then wait and eat more. I’d cheer for the team Mom and Dad said they were going for, and the whole thing would end with a food-coma-induced nap.

Thanksgiving dinner has always been followed by a retreat into the living room to watch the game, and when we were younger, that was always followed up with a front-yard game of football. I could throw a spiral ball by the time I was 8. Dad and I would run mini plays in the front yard on weekends, and my PE teachers always said I threw better than the boys.

Teams were a big deal. We each had our own, and a healthy dose of trash-talking would ensue whenever one of our teams played another. I was a New York Jets fan from the age of about three, because I mistakenly thought they were the New York Jetsons, and who wouldn’t root for the Jetsons’ team? As I got older, I began to understand football, and while I remained a Jets fan, I was aware of the fact that they were unassociated with the cartoon.

Football wasn’t just a sport of choice in the house; it was part of who we were as a family. Mom was kidding-but-not-really when she told me and Sister that if our future significant other didn’t like football, he wasn’t going to fit in. Boyfriend, luckily enough, is an avid football fan, so Mom and Dad gave the stamp of approval, even though his team and Dad’s are fierce rivals.

Between Parents and Boyfriend, my life is often measured in units of time called weeks-until-the-playoffs, weeks-until-the-super-bowl, and weeks-until-it-starts-again. Being away from home hasn’t changed this – Boyfriend never fails to remind me how long we have until the draft, until Aaron Rodgers can get back on the field (I feel like I know the guy personally).

I had never really noticed how much football was a part of my life until I came to college. Many of my friends didn’t care much for the game, or had never watched. I myself enjoy watching football, but certainly not with the expertise or passion that Boyfriend or Parents do. When Super Bowl Sunday came, however, I couldn’t help but sit down and watch. It almost felt wrong to do anything else.

While I miss most football Sundays now, living halfway across the country and all, I think football will always be a small part of me. It’s how my family comes together; it’s where we find common ground. It’s part of how we relate to one another, and I have a feeling it will continue to be part of my life as long as the Green Bay Packers walk the face of the earth.

The Fallibility of Memories

There is nothing worse that the feeling of remembering something too late. Yesterday, I realized I’d forgotten completely about a meeting I had to attend. Luckily it was nothing earth-shatteringly important, but I find that forgetting important things brings up for me an unsettling truth: our minds are fallible. I rely on my brain daily to remind me to do simple things, like brushing my teeth, but also to do more important things, like attend meetings. Forgetting is rattling because it makes me question my brain and how much I should really trust it.

I think: Can I really trust you, brain? If I can’t trust you to remember simple things like a place and date, how can I expect you to log all of the important memories in life? How can I expect you to file away memories about my college years, my childhood, and everything else and keep them safe? Am I going to find them disarrayed, spread across the messy desk of my mind, spotted with coffee stains and crumbs?

Inside of brain with men running around

Is this my brain?

It is well known that the brain is fallible, that it colors our memories with thoughts of what we think should have happened, what we wish would have happened, and with details that are just plain inaccurate. It is one thing to abstractly know this but another to face it: how much of my life do I remember inaccurately? How many of my memories are actually real?

In today’s age of technology, I suppose we can outsource some of our brain’s tasks. We can relive old memories through Facebook statuses and messages. We can keep track of our schedules through iCal. But there is of course a lot which Facebook, iCal, and even offline mediums such as journals cannot capture. There is something to be said about the multi-sensory memories which we can only keep in our heads.

While things like dates and commitments are important to remember with accuracy, I think the important question becomes, “How important is it really to remember things as they were?” If I remember a particular event as bringing me more joy than it did, is there harm in that? Am I okay knowing that my memories can bring me joy more than my actual experiences?

I think I am, not only because it’s an unchangeable part of how our brains function, but because when I look back at my life, no one will be there to set the record straight. All I’ll have is my memories, and if they can bring me solace, make me laugh, or help me reflect, accuracy becomes irrelevant. Memories are not gateways to the past but bridges to our future. I’ve been lucky to build some good ones so far.