An Open Letter to Us All:
My dad died when I was only 10. I’m 43, I still miss him and it’s true that even the most vivid of memories fade with time. They adopted me late in life, and so he was often behind the shutter, doing what adoring parents do, capturing every single moment of my life. So many photos of me. Shannon in her high chair, Shannon holding a ball, Shannon in her Girl Scout uniform. You know these photos, because we all uncontrollably take these photos of our children. So we can remember them how they were.
When he died, from lymphoma I was still here, and it was me who desperately needed ways to remember HIM how HE was…TOGETHER WITH ME. Loving evidence of our relationship.
Thanks to my mom, I have about 10 precious photos of us together. However of those, we only facing the camera in maybe 5 of them, and we are only close together, cuddling, in 2 of them – taken when I was merely 2 years old. None of us hugging and smiling from age 3 or up.
All my life, I have craved every artifact of his presence I can find and hold onto. A few snapshots, a few handwritten notes. And there just aren’t very many.
Men and women alike, if we avoid being in photos because we hate our hair, our bodies, our clothes or our smile – we are being selfish. It’s not about us. It’s not for us. It’s for the future version of our loved ones, family, partners, friends, – for our children – who someday will miss us. And crave to have us with them in any way they can.
Guess what? None of us walk around town making the perfect “in the mirror face” we all wish we made. And you know those spontaneous expressions your face muscles make that you think aren’t picture perfect ? … the rest of us see those faces all day long. And we love them.
Smiling for the camera
We don’t realize that the “smiling for the camera” pictures aren’t for benefit the camera. We should be smiling at the future selves of the people we’re in the photo with. Showing how much we love being there with them.
So let’s all get over ourselves and get in the picture.
And let your smile show that you love being there, together with them, right then, and always, no matter what.
Article written by Shannon Ahslstrand. Shannon came across our request for family stories. It motivated her to write this Facebook Post. This reminder to be in the family picture was important enough to share with all of you. Thank you Shannon for inspiring all of us. We will “get in the family picture.”