Thanks to Crystal Banting, from Crystal B Photography for sharing her thoughts on how important it is for us as parents to include ourselves in our children’s memories.
In their first years of life, you photograph every small triumph. First smile, first tooth, when they crawl, when they take their first steps, their first birthday. Whether it is their first day of school or the first time you let go of that bike seat, you are holding your breath.
You are there with your camera to catch that moment.
You share in their joy, but you aren’t in the photo. You are on the sidelines cheering your hardest taking photos of every accomplishment, and you know how proud you are of them and at that moment they know too. But all too often, memories fade. Only the photos remain. All of which the subject in the photo isn’t looking at the camera….they’re looking at you. Wanting to share that moment with you too.
There are many excuses to not take a moment and get IN FRONT of the camera instead of hiding behind it. I know.
I have been a mother for 13 years and not once have been in a photo of my children. I know the excuses. I’ve used them all…too tired, look like hell, need to lose 10 more pounds, have a stupid smile, need a haircut, feel awkward in front of the camera, worried of what others will they will think when they see it, what they will say.
Yes, I should know better. I’m a photographer. I take photos of children and families, it bring me huge, HUGE joy to show those families their photos of themselves and their children together. I get so excited to see their reaction, to share the joy with them, but you know what I hear?
My smile looks horrible. I look so tired. I’m making a weird face….
But I don’t see it.
I’m the photographer, and I never see what they do in their photos. I see a beautiful family that love their little one more than anything on this earth. And a little one that loves them in absolutely the same way.
It makes me sad… it makes my heart hurt a little. It makes me want to shake them and tell them they are wrong. But I can’t. Because I understand. I feel the same way about myself.
Why do we feel this way? Why do beat ourselves down? Pick at every little detail and imperfection? It is completely and 100% ridiculous. You know why?
Because to your children, you are their whole world. You are the most amazing and magical creature they know.
You are the chaser of monsters, the fixer of stuffy noses, the eraser of tears and just a mere kiss from you heals all of their boo boos.
They don’t care if the house is a mess, that you wear sweats every day, that you haven’t had a shower by yourself in like forever (seriously, it’s not as if the bathroom is a secret portal of escape), they just want to be where you are because you are their everything.
And when they grow up and are looking at their old photos what will they see? Themselves. That’s it? That’s all?
Now they are sure that you were around, but why are there no photos of you? You were with them at every milestone in their lives, but you were not in the photo with them.
There will come a time when they will not be able to remember just how much your eyes lit up when you smiled at them, or how your hugs seemed to melt away all their sorrows….when the time passes and all they have left of you are those photographs….which one do you think they’ll choose?
I for one am not going to leave my children with nothing but memories. I have missed so much already. So many moments that I cannot get back, that they can’t get back either.
I would like to challenge all the mommies out there. Join Me.
Exist in Photos for Your Children. If it is the one thing that you do for them, make it this.
Whether it is with a camera or a phone, it does not matter. Just Exist.
“One day when you child is 40 years old, they will look at that photograph…and your child will treasure it more than any other photo they have seen of themselves.” – Sue Bryce – photographer