Moms Need to Be In Photos
I realized the hard way when I started scrapping my photos of my children: I’m not in many of them and I can’t go back in time to change that. I need to make sure that I am in pictures with my kids so they can go back and see their Mom experiencing life with them!
What brought on this realization? Well, Mary was featured on a digital show back on Digital Scrapbooking Day in November and shared her story about why photos are important to her (if you haven’t heard her story before, you need to send her a note and ask her to share her story here because it’s an amazing, albeit tear-jerker, story!). I hopped on the call and they asked me to share why photos are important to me. And I told them, but once I began thinking about the reason, more and more became apparent to me.
I remember when my older sister received her first camera from Santa Claus. I was only 9-years-old at the time but I was more than intrigued. I was OBSESSED. She would work hard around our farm and on neighbor farms to earn money so she could pay to have her film developed. What would she find when she anxiously opened the envelope of newly developed photos? MANY blurry, out-of-focus pictures she never took. Boy, would I get in trouble for taking her camera like that!
Parents always know the best gifts to give, and to save a relationship between sisters, they gave me my very own camera that next October for my 10th birthday – a Kodak Instamatic. It wasn’t as cool as Sherry’s camera, but it was MINE and I could take pictures of whatever I wanted! I was in heaven. In my mind, I was a 10-year-old photographer extraordinaire! I’ll never forget the first picture I took. My Dad was standing on a ladder working in the shadow of the house and I came up to the bottom of the ladder, put my eye up to the view finder and called him loudly. He looked down and I took the shot. I had no idea how to take pictures (I think I was the first person to come up with the “point and shoot” method!) and I didn’t use my flash, either (remember when you had to buy the box of flashes that were little cubes with 4 flashes per cube?). My dad actually yelled at me and told me I was wasting film because it wouldn’t be light enough. I cried. But of course, a lesson was learned after the scolding and as soon as I developed that film. It was a terrible, blurry picture – my dad’s face was all shadowed and only I knew it was him! And that’s when I knew I wanted to take much better pictures.
Over the next few years, if you saw a green Schwinn bike flying down the country roads, that was me looking for my next “model”. My poor dog Dusty had to be my model most of the time (I think he was a saint in disguise!) but I really wanted to take pictures of my Grandma Lucy who lived next door. You see, Grandpa Ralph passed away when I was only 8-years-old and I had no pictures of him. Grandma wouldn’t let me (or anyone else for that matter) take any pictures of her because she was very self conscious. I think Grandma was very beautiful when she was a young woman. I see why Grandpa took a shine to her! Here’s the two of them together before they were married, sometime in the late 1920’s (I think it was 1929.) I just love her beautiful smile and the two of them together made such a beautiful couple. Of course, I think Grandpa is very handsome, too!
In Grandma’s older days, she was absolutely beautiful and adorable. But she didn’t think so and because of that, she avoided the camera at all costs.
That’s when I realized how much I valued pictures: when I couldn’t have one. There weren’t many pictures of Grandma. It broke my heart, and believe me, being the little snot nose that I was, I tried hard to get pictures of her. I would hide the camera behind my back or get it ready to take her picture when her back was turned. She had some kind of sixth sense for cameras, I think, because she would turn away just as quickly as she turned around. It’s almost like she knew it was there. So the few pictures I DID have of my Grandma were ones that show her blurry profile and the blurry back of her head.
I became better at taking pictures and a couple years later, Santa brought me a new camera – a Kodak Disc camera with the flash built right in! Oh my goodness, the fun I had with that one! When I was in high school, I met my boyfriend who had a very nice Cannon camera. It was the bomb – one like professional photographers use! I remember the first time I used it, too. We went to visit my sister who lived in Chicago and we went to the zoo. I took a picture of a grizzly bear and I was able to zoom in. I thought it looked like a postcard! I was hooked. In the meantime, still no picture of Grandma.
Almost 12 years later, I finally got my very first picture taken with Grandma when I was 22-years-old. It was my first and my last. She was in a nursing facility and wasn’t able to come to my wedding. After the ceremony, I went with my new husband to see Grandma. She was all dressed up, waiting to see us and she actually let us take her picture. She passed away just two years and a few days later. That ended any chances of getting another picture with Grandma.
I treasure this picture as it’s the only one I have of Grandma Lucy with me. It’s one of my most valued possessions and I would be devastated to lose it.
Why Moms Need to be In Photos
Do you think I learned a lesson from Grandma? No, not really. You see, I’m many pounds heavier than I would like to be and I don’t like how I look in pictures. But typing this blog post and realizing how hurt and sad I was by Grandma’s attitude towards pictures made me have that awful revelation that I’m turning out just like Grandma Lucy! So no more hiding behind a camera for me. For the sake of my children, I will have my picture taken so they can have memories of their childhood with their momma. That will be hard at first, but I’m sure the more pictures I have taken the easier it will become. Plus that will just motivate me to lose some weight, too!
So here’s a start – a picture of me and my amazing, handsome son. I didn’t want to forget this special moment when he said, “I want a picture of just me and Mom because she’s my biggest fan!” So I’m overweight, I see wrinkles, my hair’s a mess and when I smile, my eyes squint shut. I will always look at this photograph and remember what my son said and my heart will burst with love and pride over and over and over again! And that’s what memories are all about!
Pictures have been important to me since I was 10-years-old and the older I get, the more I realize the real, true value of these heartfelt treasures. I take many pictures and I’m married to a man who likes to take pictures as much or more than I. We document our life together through photos and we want to make sure that our photos are preserved and will be around for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.
So what’s keeping you from being in your family’s photographs?