This holiday season I’ve resolved to try to take life a little more slowly. I don’t know if it’s having two children under the age of 2, my recent entry into my 30s or the grays that are sprouting up on the sides of my head, but it feels like every day I grow a little more aware that nothing lasts forever.
I work in commercial food and hospitality media. As a profession, I create imagery that helps you connect with food — or at least make you feel a little hungry. I’ve been working on a side project for the last few months creating an heirloom cookbook for my mother-in-law. If you could imagine taking scribbled old recipe cards and crossing them with a beautifully bound and designed cookbook, you are envisioning this project. It’s meant to archive our family’s favorite recipes and tell the story of our dinner table throughout generations. It helps that my mother-in-law is an amazing cook.
For our latest cookbook shoot, I took photos of my daughter decorating Christmas cookies and drinking hot cocoa with her grandma. It wasn’t perfect. Her little fingers aren’t very good at sprinkling yet. She also doesn’t understand why she can’t put her soggy hand back into the sprinkles after she shoved it into her mouth or why she can’t take a bite out of every cookie she helps decorate.
But it was special. This is her first time to decorate Christmas cookies. She’s learning how a cookie gets iced and how to sprinkle sprinkles. She’s also learning that grandma can teach her things and beginning to take part in a family tradition. As a parent, I feel a sense of obligation to create meaning for my children. I want to help them make memories they can hang on to, memories that will help them feel connected to their family as they get older.
It’s not really something at the forefront of our minds, but a day will come that will be the last time you carry your child on your shoulders or the last time you rock your child to sleep or the last time you help them put their hair in pigtails. What’s scary to me is that the moment will probably come and go without notice.
Time is precious. This holiday season, create lasting memories with your loved ones. It’s people and the experiences we share with them that matter the most.
Brandon Smith is a husband, father of two (under 2) and the owner of Dwelling Table, a hospitality media studio specializing in food and interior photography, styling and art direction. View his work at dwellingtable.com and follow him on Instagram @dwellingtable.