Canada Costa Rica Thoughts on Life

Is a picture really worth 1,000 words?

Ed: published June 2021, but drafted September 2019

Last week Clara had her first day of Kindergarten Around The World. If a picture is really worth 1,000 words this image I shared on Facebook would say “look at how interesting and adventurous my family is, dot dot dot”.

But let’s be real for a second here. It’s just a picture: one fraction of one second in our story. On top of that, it’s the one fraction of the one second that I chose to share. When you look at that picture you don’t see that:

  • I’m worried about groceries, school supplies, the actual school itself, work calls (wasn’t I supposed to be on sabbatical?), Will, Clara, Jon, finding snorkel gear, SIM cards, a rental car, our long-term rental, how to be a more patient, present, and kind parent, finding a school at our next stop in three months, being behind on emails, the health of extended family members, etc., etc., etc.
  • Clara, just 5, is terrified she won’t be able to communicate and that she won’t make friends.
  • Will, just 3, is terrified about his first day at a new school not only because he will be the littlest one but also because he is on week 3 of an uncharacteristic bout of separation anxiety (due to our life choices, perhaps).
  • The night before I was in tears, physically shaking with guilt about not just letting Clara start kindergarten in Vancouver at her catchment school with her friends and Will stay at the daycare he knows with the teachers who already know and love him.

Pictures, and social media especially, allow us to chose what story to tell. But as people who digest these perfect looking pictures we need to remember that behind every single picture is a real person with a real story. Things aren’t perfect here, and they don’t need to be. But you better believe I’m going to continue posting pretty pictures.

Note: I drafted most of this post in September 2019, when the world was a different place. I’m re-dusting off the blog today and couldn’t leave this post behind. As you probably guessed, the kids were fine—after a week or two of adjusting they thrived at that school. We were fine too. Kindergarten Around the World was full of highs and lows and hugs and tears… and huge global pandemic-sized surprises. It was not the year we expected, but damn, my Instagram looks good.