I’ve read several quotes reminding parents that little eyes are watching our every move but it wasn’t until I watched my 2-year-old daughter pick up my camera and attempt to hold it up to her little face that I realized just how much truth there was to those statements. More often than not, when I see her pick it up my first instinct is to quickly remove it from her tiny, clumsy hands. I know we would both be devastated if she broke it and frankly neither one of us can afford to replace it.

I’ve always been infatuated with pictures even when I was young. For my 12th birthday my mom bought me a 35mm Minolta and for subsequent birthdays after that, I’d always request rolls of film. I was lucky that my mom graciously paid to develop all the pictures that I was taking. She even continued to pay for doubles long after it was apparent that the only thing I was taking pictures of was my friends and all the fun things we did.

Over the years, my mom bought me several cameras. She bought me my first digital camera and I can still remember my excitement when I read that it took pictures at a whopping 8 megapixels. The ability to take pictures, view them on the display screen, delete them on the spot and take more was a game changer. I think that’s when I really began to love cameras and the precious mementos they created.

After my mom died in 2009, I decided that I was going to take my entire tax return and buy a “real” camera. At that point, it was the most expensive purchase I had ever made in my life and it didn’t disappoint. I spent the next several days, weeks and months outside, taking pictures of anything and everything. I had cameras all my life, but there was something special about the DSLR and all that it could do. It allowed me to be creative and I was passionate about that.

I took a college photography class to brush up my skills and before I knew it people were occasionally asking me if I would take pictures for them. At the time, I was excited and felt a sense of validation but over time, I realized that taking pictures as a method to make money was sucking my passion right out of me. It got to a point where I stopped using my camera all together. Something that I had loved so much and for so long had become something I dreaded. Even today with two beautiful babies as my every day subjects, taking pictures doesn’t quite have the same effect that it once did.

So today when I watched my daughter grab my camera for the umpteenth time, instead of taking it away from her, I walked her to the front door, wrapped the strap around her neck and followed her outside. I showed her which button to press and off she went. She walked around the front yard snapping away. I think she just liked the sound of the shutter opening and closing, or maybe it was that she was doing what she sees her momma do so often.

Either way, watching her walk around the yard, imagining what images she might be capturing, made me feel excited again, excited like I was so many years ago when developing my rolls of film felt like Christmas morning. For the first time in a really long time, I couldn’t wait to upload the pictures and see what treasures she had captured. 2-year-old perspective is beautiful. That image up above that my daughter took is now hands-down my favorite of all time.