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Why Moms Need to be In Photos


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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.

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My wonderful grandparents, Lucy and Ralph, in 1929 before they were married.

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.

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My one and only picture of me with my Grandmother

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!


My son with his #1 fan – ME, his Mom!

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?


  1. Oh, how touching. A reminder that we need to be in the pictures too.

    1. Jackie says:

      Absolutely, Melissa – we should all have a new favorite phrase: Will you take our picture, please? 😉

  2. Kristie says:

    Jackie, your story is both fun and touching. I’m so glad you have at least one photo of your grandmother with you! We often hide from the camera, and I think you are right, we should be in some photos!

    1. Jackie says:

      Yes, you’re right! Moms tend to hide behind the camera lense because it’s safe. But it’s not fair to our children! Let’s all get in more photos! :)

  3. Excellent post! I have also come to this same realization. I’m also famous for being behind the camera instead of in front of it – and for the same reasons. But I’ve also made an effort to hand the camera over to others and ask them to take pictures with me in them as well. It’s hard!!! But someday, we’ll be old and we’ll delight in seeing ourselves looking the way we do right now… Or, at least, our families will.

    If you’re interested in reading about my experience, I blogged about it here:

    1. Jackie says:

      Thank you so much for your insight! You hit the nail on the head, Michelle. Women who don’t feel “just right” about themselves have such a hard time getting in pictures. I do, so I get it. We need to start loving ourselves for who we are and not compare ourselves to others. And remember how important these photographs are for our children and our children’s children!

  4. Teresa says:

    Really enjoyed the post. I hate my photo taken. I always take them of my girls with my husband. After reading your post I need to take heart and get in the photo with them. Thank you!

    1. Jackie says:

      Thank you, Teresa! I am still not liking my picture taken, but when I do, I go back and make myself find something “nice” to say instead of thinking about all the negatives I see…that’s really helping me find some “love” for myself, that “love” that my kids see every time they look at the picture! You can do it!

  5. Just a great reminder! My son is only 3 months old and I realize that I have not taken enough photos of the two of us.

    1. Jackie says:

      Oh Lisa! You have a gift and that’s a gift of time! You haven’t made the decades worth of mistakes I have so I’m thrilled for you. Please share some pictures with us of you and your sweet, little boy!

  6. Oh my goodness, only one picture with your grandmother? What a treasure, and how sad at the same time. Yes, moms need to be in pictures. I didn’t even realize this was a problem until recently, because it’s just what we do. It’s so ingrained in many people to shy away or step out of the frame. I don’t even think we realize it’s happening. Thanks for sharing and being a picture-perfect role model.

    1. Jackie says:

      Thank you, Darla. You hit the nail on the head. Our subconscious minds take over when cameras come out (or we tend to move to the back to be behind someone who’s blocking us a bit – at least that’s what I do!) and we avoid the pictures. Remember the future generations and get back in those “frames”! :)

  7. Caroline says:

    Thanks for writing this reminder, Jackie! I need to be more in front of the camera, for sure! In fact, looking through my recent camera roll, it’s mostly my hubby and daughter together. Shame on me! Fixing it this weekend! :-)

    1. Jackie says:

      I’m so glad you’re going to get in more pictures, Caroline! Your daughter will be so happy and you are too darn beautiful to NOT be smiling with her instead of just at her! :)

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