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Today's Family Magazine

MOMMY CHRONICLES: Things and experiences gain value when you have to wait for them

Paper Shoot Cameras make it easier for you to be in the moment, and check your images at a later time. Nearly 30 fun designs to choose from!

By Stacy Turner

From healthcare to medicine, advances in technology make our lives easier in so many ways.  A few quick clicks and Amazon can deliver that book, pair of shoes, or shiny new whatnot to your door — sometimes on the same day.  Too busy to grocery shop?  With a few clicks of a button, Instacart can deliver your items right to your door.  You can sit on your couch and stream hours of entertainment in no time flat.

But perhaps there’s still something to be said for delayed gratification.  Remember as a child how you felt in the days leading up to holidays like Christmas?  As a child, you had weeks to speculate exactly how Santa would deliver your pony down the chimney.  Sure, you were disappointed when you didn’t actually get a pony for Christmas.  But in the end, the fact that the day ended equineless didn’t really seem to matter, since much of the fun was in dreaming of what might be. 

My kids were born in the time of digital photography.  They are unaware of what it meant to point, click, and hope for the best.  They had no idea we had to load film into our cameras, then shoot 24 or 36 photos without getting to see who blinked, if a finger was in the way, or if the photo would be what we imagined.  If you sprung for one-hour developing, you’d know soon enough.  The rest of us filled out envelopes, sending our film out for processing, returning days later to pick up our prints and negatives.  If we were lucky, a portion of photos were good.  Filters weren’t a thing — the best we had was a special pen to blot out inevitable red eyes from the harsh light of the camera flash.  These days, however, we’ve all perfected our photo game, with a variety of filters, and a big screen to see and reshoot to make everything look picture-perfect. 

That’s why we were surprised when our daughter asked for a new camera for Christmas.  “You’ve got one right there on your phone,” we reminded her.  “No, this camera is new,” she told us, and went on to describe how the slim new device worked.  Roughly the size of her phone, this invention bills itself as a digital-friendly replacement to disposable cameras.  You know, those things we old folks used to buy on vacation or leave on tables at wedding receptions as an old-school way to share photos.  Powered by rechargeable batteries, photos are stored on an SD card the user downloads to their computer to view.  The maker promotes the product’s lack of screen or controls ‘which allow you to live fully in the moment.’  It really is true what they say about old things being new again. 

Well, Santa left one for her under the tree, and she set out to capture the moments of her Christmas break.  We witnessed her excitement about framing perfect shots and using the new gadget, learning more about light exposure, old-school terms like macro and sepia, and how our eyes adjust automatically to low light better than a camera can.  She seems to enjoy the unpredictability as much as she enjoys the photo-taking process.  It’s like the anticipation of what she’ll download is a built-in bonus of her Christmas present. 

It seems to confirm what Harold Schweitzer, professor of English at Bucknell University and author of “On Waiting (Thinking in Action),” determined.  “Things and experiences gain value when you have to wait for them.”  Now I know that technology isn’t going anywhere, and most often, I’m glad of this fact.  But it’s nice to know that sometimes, the old ways can deliver something valuable, too.  If only we’re willing to wait for it.