I miss everything in between. I miss everything that was ever routine.
— Christopher M. Jones | Mitchell's Journey

I have a habit of taking photos of everything – the big things, the little things, and everything in between. When I look at my photos I enjoy seeing the big events, but I love the captures of little things, the moments in between, even more. I love to capture raw moments. At least to me, they become windows into my past, and they serve to remind me, in vivid detail, of life as it actually happened. There is no posturing, no pretending, just life unrehearsed. 

On this occasion, we were driving to St. George (Southern Utah) when I grabbed my camera and pointed it toward the back and started snapping. I didn’t know what I was shooting and it didn’t matter. I just wanted to capture whatever it was my kids were doing. Later that night, when I saw this photo series for the first time, I was so delighted to see smiles on their face. Ordinarily, my family is so accustomed to my shooting photos; they don’t even look up because they know I’ll stop shooting when they do. For they know I don’t like posed photos. For some reason, they looked up this time and smiled – and I’m grateful.

I love the moments in between. When I think of major events in life: those vacations we saved up for, that night at a musical or play, the family drives through some undiscovered country … it was seldom the sweeping vistas, the beautiful music or the rollercoaster rides I love the most. I find my richest memories are the ones where we were not doing anything big at all. It was those ordinary weekdays at home with the family. It was bath time and bedtime … those times we were exhausted after a long day. It was popsicles on the porch, dinner tables and dancing in the kitchen, pulling weeds and pulling pranks. I miss everything in between. I miss everything that was ever routine.

If grief has taught me anything, it has shown me how to savor life. 

For the things that grieve me are the things that mattered most to me – and because of my pain, I want to do more of what matters with those who remain. Grief has become a catalyst to try harder and do better than I have in the past. To live more fully in the moment … to love with everything I have, and to exercise greater faith. 

At the end of my days, my family won’t care about vacations, cars or play things - they’ll care about the moments in between. The ordinary. The often unseen. 

That’s the stuff life is made of. That’s the stuff that really matters.