SO YOU DON’T HAVE PHOTOS OF YOURSELF?
I have been with my husband for 13 years and I have been a mom for 11 years. I’d confidently say that I have thousands of photos of my beautiful little family. Such wonderful memories and little details that bring up our fondest experiences. I can pull up a seemingly trivial photo of my 2nd born son at 2 months old and a flood of memories from that age for him and his brother come back to me. I have all of them saved digitally but would still grab my laptop and harddrives if there was a fire in my house. As I searched through all of them today, I noticed a few things; We were happy, we were fun, we made lots of core memories that will last a lifetime. I also noticed 1 more thing that felt like a gut punch, I wasn’t in most of them. I was the one taking the photos. As the mom of 2 boys, I wanted to capture these amazing moments for us, but didn’t put myself in the shot to be there with them. After reaching this conclusion, I searched in our printed galleries of my youth for photos of my mom. After a few hours on that hunt, I came to the realization that there is a big recurrence that must be noted, we don’t get enough photos of ourselves.
So you might be uncomfortable: The truth is, I've often preferred being behind the camera or in the back row of the group shot. I've never been the girl with perfect make-up thanks to my oily skin, my straight hair is often flowing wild because it cannot keep a curl to save my life, and arm fat now has layers going on. I honestly don’t want all that documented. But then I realize, I know what I look like. I know all the nooks and crannies and every spot on my body. I don’t need this reminder. But maybe, just maybe, these photos aren’t only for me. Maybe one of my children would like to look back on this day. I have a beautiful green dress that their daddy doesn’t like because the color green grosses him out. My hair is crazy cause we ran through the field in the park, racing to the swings. My face has no makeup cause I was comfortable and didn’t feel the need to cover up my natural self. Maybe, those details I notice, aren’t going to be what they notice.
You never know who may treasure your photos: As I looked through all our families' printed photos, I came across so many that my mom and I felt the need to make a pitcher of sweet tea and sift through them all. We sipped and sat around talking about all the good memories we came across. There were so many different pictures of mothers, fathers, cousins, aunts, uncles, even some neighbors. We talked, laughed, and reminisced for hours! Some photos were very old and aged. Some photos were polaroids. Some photos were more recent and printed at local Walgreens. Professional or not, these meant a lot to us. They mean a lot to our entire family. I know many friends of our family that will appreciate these. It didn’t impact me until I sorted through generations of memories captured, that these are more precious than ever.
Looking at photos of my mom: My mom wasn’t in most of the photos I saw. Although I did have some photos of her, I wish there were more. I wish I could see us dressed up and looking nice for professional photos. Although there are some doozies of my grandmother with my mother as a child. Think beehive hairstyles but bigger! I wish there were some candids of us relaxing at home. I wish I could see more of her fashion choices and hairstyles. I wish I could see the memories I have in my head, printed for me to show my kids. There are so many memories that I wish were captured and printed so I can show my kids how amazing their grandmother is. She was always there, she was a great mom, and I wish there were more photos of her in that season of her life. Being a mom and most of all, being herself.
Just take the picture: So last year I asked my husband to take my picture more often. Take my picture when I'm making omelets in the kitchen with our son. Take my picture during birthday parties, day trips, and pool days. Take my picture before we go out on date night. Take my picture when I'm not paying attention. Take pictures of me being a mom and soaking up all the cuddles from our boys. Take pictures of me being me. Sometimes he snaps photos spontaneously. Sometimes I ask and he obliges. Sometimes he goes to take a photo, I hesitate, and he reminds me of what I asked for. And I remember why this was important to me in the first place. These photos are more important that I realize, and more valued that I know. Those photos are proof that I am here. These prove to future generations that I am present. I am all in. I am a wife. I am a mom. I am me.