Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses National Trust West Midlands children playing in woods

Five years in five minutes

When you grow up as an only child, sibling relationships are fascinating. One of the things I was most excited about when my second baby came along was watching the girls’ relationship develop. It occurred to me that it would be a nice thing to document. The progress of childhood. Siblings growing and changing together. So, I started taking a photo of them every week.

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What I learned from five years of photos

When Lia turned five, I thought it would be nice to put all the photos together in a video. Looking back over them as I made the video, a few things struck me.

Look at the smiles

When you’re in the depths of parenting little ones, it’s easy to feel like you’re getting it all wrong. I get cross and lose my temper. I’m terribly disorganised and forget things. I worry that we do too much, that life is too busy. But then I look back on these little snapshots of our lives, and it puts everything into perspective.

The children are happy. They’re smiling in nearly every photo. Not forced, posing for the camera smiles but genuine beams. For all their scraps and arguments, they’re usually enjoying each other’s company. I’m an imperfect parent, but who isn’t? And despite all my mistakes, they’re happy and healthy. And that’s enough.

The latest in a series of weekly photos of sisters running from the birth of the youngest to the present time. Thursday Photo #107.

The days are long but the years are short

It’s a phrase you hear often as a parent. The days are long but the years are short. On those long days, it’s hard to think of this as a time you’ll look back on fondly one day.

Now though, pausing to take stock, I’ve realised that it’s true. Those five years have flashed by in the blink of an eye. The toddler cradling a tiny baby has gone. Now, a seven year old cuddles the younger sister who is only slightly smaller than her. They’re still as close as ever, although not without their moments of disagreement. In five more years, Libby will be in high school and Lia will be approaching her final year at primary school. It seems like a long way away, but looking at these photos reminds me that it will go by in a flash.

Take the photo

Some of these photos are terrible quality. Blurred, with moving toddlers in dark rooms. But each of them captures a moment. It’s only now those moments have become memories that I realise the value of each and every one of them.

Five years in five minutes: the video

To be completely honest, it’s really five years in about four and a half minutes. But that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

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  1. Aw. I’ve been looking back at old photos too, and seeing their smiles makes me feel so happy. It’s tough at the time, but infinitely worth it.