“Mommy, Can you help me tie my shoes?”
“Mommy!!! Watch me swing!”
“Mommy!! I can’t get down!”
“Mommy. I need goosebumps.”
“Mommy. I can do it myself”
“Mommy. I don’t feel good.’
“Mom. Can I go see a movie with my friends?”
“Mom. Will you be at my game?”
‘Mom. I need new dance shoes.”
“Mom. Can I borrow $20?”
“Mom. I need to pick classes for my first year of high school.”
“Mom. I’m in love.”
“Mom. We broke up.”
“Ma. I don’t know what I am going to do with my life. Will I ever figure it out?”
“Mom. I am considering a school far from home.”
“Mom. I’ll miss you. See you over Christmas Break”
It seems to happen lightning fast.
Once infants, depending on us for their every need. Food, clothing, shelter, nurturing…
Then came the toddler years, where they stretched their independence muscles and we heard “I can do it myself!!!” more often than we cared to. The toddler years slowed us down. Made messes. Threw efficiency out the window.
The toddler years was rife with dramatic scenes at grocery stores, malls, churches, doctors offices, or .
Sometimes, tears of frustration filled the eyes of mother and child simultaneously, both aching to be understood.
Along comes childhood and the preteen years. Both with their own brand of challenges. School. Homework. Friend drama that changes more often than the weather. All the activities!!! And somewhere in there..we work. Could be you have a career, or you stay at home to care for your family full time. Or both!
We are all tired.
Pressures from all directions testing our ability to actually connect as a family. When is there time?? The preteen years hit, and along with those raging, unpredictable hormones comes the pull of social media that yanks our kids from valuable family time. Their friends have become the center of their universe.
I am about to have a freshman in high school. Soon enough, I will be handing over car keys and making visits to college campuses, then packing up and moving my firstborn out of the house and on to her adult life. I realized a few years ago that I have had more time with my kids in my home than I have left.
Oh…..my heart. I’m not particularly sure how I feel about that.
One thing I am certain of, as I write this, is that as a photographer…as a mom…I am so conspicuously absent from my family photographs, its depressing. I am the one who documents, yet remains, for the most part, undocumented. When I am gone (God-willing, I live a long life), will my children have enough photographs of us together? Will they be longing for more memories, preserved in a printed photograph, to bring those feelings and moments back?
I, for one, can tell you our memory will not always serve up moments for us on a platter. There is so much I have forgotten. But, when I look through my stacks of old photographs, those memories come flooding back, making me smile, laugh, cringe, beam with pride. (I will also tell you that many of those memories that I had documented were lost. Before I knew better (read: PRINT your photos), I trusted my computer to safely keep my family memories tucked away to be enjoyed later. Later never came. Roughly two years of photographs…my memories…my children's history…gone in a flash.)
I have always valued family portraiture, knew of its importance. As my girls grow older, the importance of portraiture and documenting my own family history is becoming even more apparent. Acutely so.
In the blink of an eye, they will be gone. On their own. That stings a bit.
We are not guaranteed tomorrow. I want to ensure I am present in photographs with my kids. Not necessarily for now…but for later. I don’t want my children to miss out, wishing they had more photographs of us together after it is too late.
Why am I rambling on about all of this? Because we think we have all the time in the world to get things done….portraits in particular….until we don’t.
We put things off because we are:
-waiting for better weather,
-kids are not cooperative enough,
-my husband/ S.O. thinks portraits are silly
-need to lose those last ten pounds
I HEAR YOU
I have made ALL of those excuses myself.
No more excuses. Life is too short.
I will leave you with this:
- Make the time
- Your kids really don’t care if you have a bit of baby weight, or you aren't a size two, or whether or not you could grace the cover of a magazine. THEY. DON’T. CARE. They love you. As Is. They love you for your strengths. They love you despite your flaws. They want your presence. In their lives, and in their memories.
The best time is now.