This will be long, but definitely worth the read… You will also learn very quickly that although I have a masters degree and have years upon years of education under my belt I’m not the english major my sister is. I’m not an eloquent writer and I just hope by the end of this my point comes across.
I recently gave a presentation and as part of the presentation I was looking for pictures from when I was a small child. I have boxes upon boxes of old images. I was born with a multitude of health issues. When I was brought home from the hospital my mom came to stay at my grandparents house. My grandfather and I developed an undeniable bond like no other.
I continued to stay with my mother and grandparents… After my mother and father were married, they moved to a place of their own. Every time, they’d take me home with them I’d become extremely sick and end up in the hospital. When my grandfather would arrive, my fever would break and I would start coming around again. The doctors couldn’t explain it but, after much contemplation my parents decided to allow me to stay with my grandparents, although they remained a very active part of my life.
So as I started to prepare my presentation I found picture after picture of me by myself as a child and countless pictures of me and my grandfather. I realized, my grandmother, the patriarch of our family… I had very few pictures of. They were almost non-existent. As a small child the only picture I could find was this one at a Shriner fish fry fundraiser… not the best picture to say the least.
I know there are only a few in existence of me and my mother as well, although I couldn’t find them before my presentation. My Nana played a vital role in my life growing up. She worked tirelessly and was always giving to others. We always had someone else living with us, that she had taken in who didn’t have anywhere else to go. If she saw someone walking she would stop and pick them up, bring them home, feed them a hot meal, and then take them where they wanted to go… in the 80’s that was still safe to do. My precious Nana… who decorated for every. single. holiday, who loved her Polaroid camera, who was devoted to her disabled husband, was never in front of the camera.
My first year in college I got a phone call, that Nana had a massive stroke. Her speech was affected, her memory and mind were affected, and she had slight paralysis. It took countless hours of physical therapy and OT to get some sort of normalcy back to her life. However, from that date forward she was never the same.
As I waded through picture after picture, I just knew there had to be more pictures in there of her, and sadly there just wasn’t. I came across some pictures I took with my cell phone back in 2012 many years after her first stroke on mothers day with my mom and with my Nana on Facebook. They hadn’t been printed, and if they were they’d be so pixelated from the terrible quality they wouldn’t print well.
In today’s modern world, it is so easy to grab your cell phone and take a “selfie” with you and your kids, or parents, or whoever. Gone is the day that you carry around a real camera to family events. Then you take those selfies and upload them to social media for the world to see…. but have you ever thought about what happens if your profile if the social media sites were deleted? What happens in 20-30 years from now when your children are looking back, digging through trying to find pictures of you. Will they find them?
My grandmother is now in a memory care facility. I see her weekly and cherish every minute we get together. I even convinced her a few months ago to let me take her picture. She’s as beautiful now as she’s ever been but pictures just aren’t the same. Every time she has a ministroke a little more of nana as I knew her slips away. It’s a constant reminder of the fragility of life. As of late we have more bad days than good days… and nothing is as it once was….
This is why I decided to do Mommy and Me mini-sessions and why I decided to discount them as much as I did. I want anyone who is interested to be able to have the opportunity to capture those precious memories that will span among generations for years to come. You can go here to book your session. This was the ad for the sessions that were ran on Facebook.
These sessions are so personal for me… they are something that I’d given anything to have from when I was a small child with my mother and grandmother. I also realized as I went through this that I have very few pictures of me with my own babies… Since having our second child last July I have been overly self conscious with my appearance and hate the way I look in pictures… As a photographer it’s just easier for me to be behind the camera… so I have vowed to do these myself as well. Mr. Smitho is a great photographer as well and I will have ours done as well… even if I’m dreading it just to make sure we’re capturing our memories!
Last year I took a picture of Nana’s hands intertwined in my daughters hands. To date it is my favorite picture that I’ve ever taken. It speaks so deeply to my heart. Those hands that held me so many nights, now wrinkled, calloused, and tired… in the sweet youthful hands of my daughter. I’m reminded of what’s important. At the end of the day, when it is all said and done, we will have our memories, and pictures.