As a child I remember that my mom hated having her photo taken…if we’re being honest, she still does! But I can distinctly remember her saying to my dad, “Don’t get me in it”, whenever the camera came out. And now, as an adult looking back at my childhood photos, my favorites pictures are the ones with her in them, be they few and far between. Of course, losing my dad this past year has made us cling to the photos we have of him as well. But since he was such a ham, there is no shortage there…something we are all so grateful for. But these juxtaposed scenarios have made me really understand the importance of photos and of being IN them, whether you want to or not…
Since I can remember, I’ve always felt the need to document life. Be it journaling or taking pictures, I could never get enough. Even in high school and college, I was the one with the disposable (and then the shoe-box sized “first digital”) camera in my purse at every party and event. Once I had my girls and got my first nice DSLR not only did my love for photography grow, but so did my list of personal insecurities: “I didn’t lose the baby weight yet”, “I haven’t had time to do my hair”, “I don’t have on any make-up”, “I’m wearing yoga pants with baby food stains on them!!”…I can literally still hear the endless excuses that came out of my mouth. Probably because I still use most of them! Ha!
Anyways, I make a “yearbook” photo album every year for our family and this year I looked back on some of the older books and noticed a very glaring theme: every year since Quinlin’s birth my presence in the family yearbook has decreased. But then again, the pictures I usually saw of myself in those years made me cringe or start picking myself apart anyways, so I didn’t care much that there were only a few to flip quickly past. Until recently…
When making the album for this past year, I actually became sad to see how few times I was present in my family’s happy memories.
Everyone playing on a beach, baby puking on Daddy’s shoulder, Aunties and Uncles giving presents and hugs, grandparents stealing kisses and reading books…but where was I?
I’ve spent so much time snapping away during important moments or life events, only to look back at my pictures and feel as if I wasn’t even there. And if I feel that way, what will my girls think one day when they look back?
And so, here I am- making an effort to get myself in the frame, insecurities and all. Because I’m not perfect and I’m sure my mom felt the same things I feel now, yet when I look at old photos of her, I don’t see her imperfections or self-doubt, I see happiness and I see reminders of amazing memories. (OK, fine, I see some sweet 80’s fashion too, but come on…that’s all the more reason to love them!)
I’m going to attempt to do this once a month, but I’m also going to make an effort to hand the camera to someone else for a few shots every once in a while, and to not yell at my husband when he tries to take pictures with me in them. Because, I WAS there too, dang it! Shoot, I probably planned and orchestrated whatever was going on anyways, so why not be a part of the memories just like everyone else. 😉
This is for you, my girls…
And this is because of you, Mom.