Strangely enough, I find that I miss him MORE with each passing day, and not less, as I thought I would.
When I look back at the last 2 years we spent with my Dad, I am reminded over and over how priceless those last images are. Photos of him with his beloved grandsons, selfies with me, quick grabs while he wasn't paying attention.
No matter how much time passes, I will always be able to see his face. My boys will know from where they get their hazel eyes. My Dad's smile will never be able to fade.
Do you know how important it is to exist in photographs? Can you grasp what it means to a family member to hold a photo in their hands and gaze at the face of a loved one lost? Most of us have lost family members and know the consolation of holding onto a photo and knowing that no matter how much time passes the beloved's face will never grow dim in our memories because the images are there to keep recollection sharp.
What I do regret is that I have only 1 portrait of my family together; one, taken in haste after we found out that my father was sick. Cancer had already begun to eat away at him, and no amount of photoshop could fill in his cheekbones, or hide the bones of his shoulders, replace the mischievous twinkle in his eye or give him the healthy, swarthy skin of a man who worked and played outdoors.
Many parents forget themselves. They are working, cleaning, bustling children from school to sports and recitals, meeting clients, fulfilling obligations. They might take a selfie on their phone's camera, but those images are almost always relegated to the digital realm and never see the light of day as a solid, true object.
To make matters even worse, most mothers don't even like to see themselves in photographs. If they DO hire a photographer, they say, "Oh just the kids, please. I hate having my picture taken. 3 kids doesn't do a body any favors and I haven't had my hair done in... I don't even know how long."
They are too busy with the hustle and bustle of life to realize that they won't always be there.
This is why I take family photos every year. Why I am in the process of bullying my own mother into having her portrait taken. Because I KNOW how precious these images are. Priceless. And I will not balk at the rate of a Professional, because I know that I can count on their talent, skill and experience to capture us at our very best. I know that these prints will hang on my children's wall, and they will hold their babies and point to my photo and say, "See that? That's your Grandma. MY momma. She loved you so much. You have her eyes."
So please...don't hide behind your wrinkles, or the 10 pounds you have left to lose, or the extra money it will cost. Your kids don't care if you have smile lines. They don't judge your waist line. A few nights a month without takeout or Starbucks will cover a portrait session.
EXIST IN PHOTOS.
Exist in photos.
Exist in photos for yourself. Exist in photos for your children, and their children; because you are precious, one of a kind, and your image should exist.