Hello! I hope you have had an amazing holiday, filled with friends and family, love and laughter and not too many stressed out holiday tears. 😉 We’ve been on an amazing whirlwind and I have to say that tears only came once for me…
Taylor graduated on the 12th. This was of course a huge day in our home. As he walked across the stage at the Portland Convention Center and they announced Dr. Taylor Stimmel I did need a tissue but those were happy tears so they don’t count for my one cry. We have worked for this for 8 years. We sold everything, our house, cars, wakeboard boats, moved across the ocean, left all our family with a 4 month old in my arms – it was all to get to this moment – he worked 12 hour days at the clinics and weekend after weekend at events to get his visit count. Meanwhile I maintained the trenches at home, dried little tiny tears that missed daddy, all while Leah Remillet Photography and Go4Pro grew bigger and bigger every year. But today, today is finally here! Seven moves, 2 more children, 3 states, and a million cherished memories later. We had done it, he had done it! It was a huge day! We took pictures with all our friends we would miss so dearly and grabbed all the kids, with Taylor in his fancy-shmancy robes to get our first family picture as Dr. & Mrs. … It was a great day, one that would be talked about and cherished not just by us but by future generations as well.
We came home from graduation with over a dozen friends and family, ready to celebrate. It was wonderful, the whirlwind continued as we hurried and packed and then left for the airport to go to Disneyland with Taylor’s entire family (18 of us). On day one at Disneyland, nobody pulled out their camera but me, everyone joking that they didn’t need it and didn’t even plan to bring theirs because I had mine. And they were right!
I ran ahead and entered the park before the group so that I could film the 8 grand children walking into the park together. I hung out of rides, one rocket ahead to capture Grandpa and his 2 oldest grandchildren (both 6) as they soared around and around on their first ride. I stayed behind as the last one to board to capture the whole group on the little boat in Storybook Land. I couldn’t wait to share.
On day 2 I used my point and shoot all day, I never even pulled out my Mark II and a few more people dawned their p&s’s too. Our numbers started to dwindle as it grew later and the only people left were Taylor, me and the kids and Taylor’s parents. I had been wanting to do the Haunted Mansion as I heard it was different for Christmas so we dropped the stroller off at stroller parking and headed in with our fast passes.
We came out of the ride and couldn’t find our stroller. I just assumed that we didn’t pay good enough attention to where we parked it, I do that all the time with my car! But after a few minutes we started to realize that that was not the case. The very friendly cast member operating the fast pass line at the ride suggested we try at Pirates. He explained that people sometimes grab the wrong stroller and realize it right about there. He was right… There it was. I was relieved but then I thought I’d better look through it. I almost didn’t because, come on… It’s the “happiest place on earth” for crying out loud.
That’s when we realized. All of the kids new toys that they’d bought for Christmas, their autograph books and my camera… It was all gone.
It was a long night. Taylor’s parents took the kids back to the hotel and we headed to City Hall to meet with the security member and file a police report. As we walked I broke it all down in my head… Toy’s could be replaced tomorrow, camera is insured, autograph-books can be replaced too and heck I figured I could forge the signatures we’d al ready got. Of course it sucked, but whenever bad happens my way of dealing with it is to rationalize and compartmentalize into pieces that I can handle.
I seemed to be doing good with it all until we stood in our next line at Lost and Found to leave a description when I realized that I’d never cleared or switched the memory card from graduation. THAT’S WHEN I CRIED. My face hot with embarrassment, there I stood in line as other people checked for sunglasses and hats, me – crying over the pictures that I’d never get to see. Everything else was replaceable, the toys, the camera… but the captured memories were not.
So here is what I hope you will take away from this…
1. Your equipment should be insured!! It’s very inexpensive, and you can add a personal policy right to your other insurance policy. I think I pay less then $50 a year. My policy insures that if anything happens, every piece of equipment I have will be replaced, may it be stolen or that I drop it into a lake. From the camera body to the custom strap, it will all be replaced.
2. Carry multiple memory cards! I don’t own anything over a 4GB card for this reason. I don’t like the idea of having too much on one card. I even had 3 more cards with me, I could have switched cards but there was so much room still that I didn’t worry about it. I wish, I wish, I wish I had!
3. Bad things will happen! None of us can avoid it. If bad things can happen at the “happiest place on earth” bad things can happen anywhere. Be prepared with things like insurance, a back up cameras (if you needed it) and with what’s been captured by that camera! You should have multiple forms of backup to protect your images. (Read this post I wrote about Back Up Systems)
4. Look for the Upside. The exact same situation can be seen in dramatically different ways depending on perspective. I truly believe in having an attitude of gratitude. Even thought it sucked, and I did cry… I also tried to remind myself to be grateful for the few iPhone pictures that I have and for all of the other blessings that I have, like the fact that I was at Disneyland with a happy and healthy family.