This past weekend, I picked up a box of old pictures from dads house.
Talk about a blast from the past!
After sifting through piles of old prints of childhood memories from all of the adorable chubby baby stages to the akward haircuts and strange clothing choices, I came across some letters I forgot about.
My great-grandpa and I were close. Very close. I cannot tell you how many pictures I have of him and I from when I was younger.
And when he passed away in December 2005, I was devastated. I still remember the day I told him good-bye like it was yesterday.
These handwritten letters from him to me as a child- made my heart stop beating. It brought part of him back to me.
It brought all sorts of emotions flooding back.
I fondly thought back to the days of playing in the sprinkler in his and my great-grandmas back yard.
To hearing his laugh. He had the best laugh in the world.
I remembered the times we would just sit there and watch rodeos together and he would tell me stories about the when days he was a real cowboy.
It made me smile to think about how excited all of us kids would get when our great-grandparents would come home from Texas each spring, where they spent the winters. We loved all of the little treasures they would bring us from Mexico!
Sadly, Alzheimer’s took his mind in his later years. And he began to fade away. It was hard watching him like this.
Hard having to answer to being called by my mothers name, instead of my own. Since I was told I looked so much like her when she was younger.
It was hard watching the strong man who would play with us kids not even be able to stand up on his own.
By looking through the piles of pictures and reliving memories from my childhood I noticed something, there weren’t many “sit there and smile” pictures.
They were real life.
There weren’t little notes on the backs of the pictures that said things like “Sorry for the messy house” or “ignore the mess- we live here”.
No one cared. These were memories.
I think this is a place where technology has ruined us. Not just by the convince of being able to take thousands of pictures a day and share them with the world in seconds. But by the idea of we have to always be perfect. Our homes to have to kept. We have to put together. Our children have to perfectly styled.
I, myself, have fallen victim to that. The apologizing for my messy house. Or making excuses like “we live here” when I post a picture and the back ground is trashed.
When I talk about lifestyle sessions- these are the types of pictures I am talking about.
These are the memories I want to preserve for you.
The ones you used to excitedly pull out at family dinners at grandma and grandpas house.
The ones with everyone in them.
Because what are you going to do when your kids are older and have children of their own?
Pull up Facebook and show them all of the pictures you took? Right. Because Facebook will always be around. Remember this cool little site called MySpace? Yeah, I rest my case.
Are you going to pop in a CD of images and show them? We all know CDs are on their way out. Good luck finding a NEW computer with a CD drive built in anymore. And, again, let me reintroduce you to my little friend called a floppy disc… And if you don’t know what that is- exactly.
Plan on handing them your phone to browse pictures? Good idea. Since we all know phones never break, get lost, or are outdated as fast as they are released. I am sure there will be something cooler out then too.. I mean, you can video call people from your watch now…. Crazy.
Get real pictures. GET IN YOUR pictures.
Don’t force your kids to sit there, perfectly dressed, in front of a stranger, while you bribe them with candy and the world, forcing them to smile.
Why not let them be kids? Why not document the cute little things they do that you want to remember forever?
Why not document your quite moments TOGETHER, not behind the screen of your phone taking a picture without you in them.
I tell you what, with my own mother no longer involved in my life, I am thankful for pictures of her with us kids growing up.
Because, I know that one day those will be all I have left.
What pictures will you be leaving your kids? Selfies with terrible instagram filters on them?
Posed, deer-in-the-headlights-staring-at-the-camera pictures?
How about real pictures. Of you snuggling them. Tickling them. Playing with their favorite stuffed animal with them, that they may only have just threads left of. Let’s leave our kids something more to remember us by.
Our minds leave this world long before our bodies do.
As heartbreaking as that is. Its true.
I covet pictures of me and my parents. Of me and my grandparents. Of me and my great-grandparents. Of me and my great-great-grandparents.
(Yes, I was that blessed. As are my children. To have 5 generations alive at one time.)
I tell my children stories about summer days at the lake house, cooking with my grandma, fishing with my great-grandpa.
And- I have REAL pictures to show them my life at that point in time.
If you invest in one thing in your life- invest in your memories.
For your children’s sake.
So, they have something to think back on when they are older and have children of their own.