A life story can be told thru pictures. You grab the camera (or nowadays, your phone) to capture fleeting moments so you are reminded of the moments that make life worth experiencing. I know I get carried away taking pictures of the kids and everything they do. Thanks to the digital age, I no longer have shoe boxes full of glossy memories. Instead, I have an entire hard drive dedicated to my happy shutter finger. As I go thru the literally thousands of pictures I have taken over the years, I can reminisce. Many emotions surface: happiness, nostalgia, sadness, excitement, the occasional embarrassment…some bittersweet. As my life has evolved, some of those emotions have changed. I don’t look at the same pictures the way I used to. Some that used to bring me pride, now bring me sadness. I don’t regret those memories, I just reflect. Some pictures capture what I thought was the absolute best point in my life, only to be topped by subsequent “better moments”. I have snapshots of animals, friends, students, family members, and of course the kids. I have birthdays, holidays, sunrises, sunsets, sporting events, first days of school, sleeping and waking moments. All glimpses of life at that present time.
But as I look thru the megabytes, I am struck by the perspective. These are all moments I’ve captured to remind me of our daily life. Pictures taken selfishly thru my own perspective. I don’t mean selfish in a bad way, and it’s certainly not intentional. But, how many pictures do I share the frame in? Yeah, I hate having my picture taken – what middle aged adult doesn’t? But I realize now that I am leaving a photogenic trail of memories for my kids OF my kids. There aren’t many pictures with me included. The modest me says, “Awesome!”. The nostalgic me says, “What photo memories are you leaving your kids to look back on?” This became painfully clear when I searched for pictures of myself with my mom. I was shocked to only find ONE picture of the two of us alone together. I can’t go back and change that, and that breaks my heart, but I can ensure my kids never experience the same heartbreak. This is one aspect of memories I have complete control over – even if that does mean putting my selfish modesty aside. So, I’m going to do my best to make sure I’m a visible part of our trail of photo memories, because the perspective isn’t about me, it’s about “us”.
To the moms and dads out there…don’t forget to step away from the shutter!