Picture Perfect Memories…
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s the case, I probably have several hundred thousand words stored on my computer. When my children were first born, I had the camera nearby all of the time. As they got older, it seemed that the camera stayed put more often and only came out on special occasions. As they approached adolescence I was not quite sure where the camera was. Now that they are practically grown, I find myself trying to capture their picture more often, something which they find totally annoying.
When I attended my 25th high school reunion I was asked to e-mail a picture of myself from my childhood to the coordinator of the reunion. I chose one from my third birthday. I do not remember this occasion but apparently I had a good time because I was smiling. That picture allowed me to see a piece of my past; and while I don’t remember it I have proof that that moment in time was special to me. And while thumbing through a box of old pictures at my church a while back I realized that something was missing. The box, filled with pictures from the past 25 plus years is full of un-labeled pictures. There were some familiar faces staring back at me, however, the majority of the pictures in that box are just that…pictures; nameless, unidentifiable pictures.
Why do we take pictures in the first place? For me, I take pictures to preserve a special time, event, milestone, etc. Pictures are a source of unwritten memories. We take pictures to remember a moment in time that we want others to know about. But what happens if we just throw all of our pictures into a box without taking the time to label them? The memory is still preserved, but cannot be recalled by anyone looking at it. Time passes by too quickly and those boxes of pictures tend to sit on a shelf until someone stumbles across them and discovers that those memories cannot be identified; they remain nameless.
In today’s world so many of our pictures are stored digitally, which means we do not even have paper copies to write on. When I was a little girl my grandparents had a Polaroid camera. You pushed the button, the picture slid out of the camera and within a few minutes it would “develop” right before your very eyes. Then we got some new fancy cameras that used 33 mm film. We would send the film off and a week or two later, the mailman would deliver an envelope with our pictures. Flash forward to the digital age where you can take a picture, send it via e-mail and within seconds share it with all of your friends and family. While the opportunity to have paper copies printed still exists, we find ourselves not going to the trouble of having it done. What happens if we have a technical difficulty and lose our digital images? What happens to the memories? The memories will remain in our minds and hearts, but we will not be able to share them with future generations.
My challenge for you this week is to return to a time where paper pictures are treasured. If you have a box of unidentified pictures, dig them out and label them. If you do not have a box full of pictures, get clicking and fill one up. As I sat staring at the image of three year old me, I realized that there are so many things from my childhood that I do not remember. Why? Because as we grow older we tend to forget the little things from our past, however, pictures are a way to either remind us of that special time or help us take a peek back in time and see what we were like. My children are pretty much grown and lately I have found myself staring at their photo albums remembering them as my little ones. My son, who at 16 is much taller than me stares back at me from the pages of his album and it is like I have been transported back in time. My daughter, now 21, stares at me from the photos of her life wearing her daddy’s sneakers and sheepish little grin. Oh the memories, oh the joy that these photos bring to me. Fill your life with pictures. We have but one life to live, so why not capture that life in pictures to carry your memories on forever.
For me, I will continue to snap away whether my children want me to or not. I am sure I will capture quite a few shots of the back of their heads or their hands in front of the lens while trying to escape, but once in a while I will capture a memory and place it in their photo journal in hopes that one day down their life road they, like me, will pull it out and recall a special moment in time and all the love that their daddy and I have for them then and now. Take a picture, label it and share a memory.
I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
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