Another Mother’s Day has come and gone, but thanks to social media, the posts about moms will live forever. People posted pictures of their mothers, both old and current photos, singing their praises. People would exclaim their mom was the BEST mom. Their mom was the MOST beautiful mom. Of course, by definition this can’t be true but to those posting the photos, it indeed is.
My mom passed away a couple of years ago. When we were going through her pictures, we discovered there were very few pictures of her. There were pictures of everyone else, from our immediate family to our extended family to people who I had never seen and no one else could identify. But there were very few of her. My mom had eating disorders and her weight fluctuated wildly. I’m certain she wasn’t in many photos because she simply didn’t want hers taken. She didn’t want to know what she looked like or leave behind photographic proof. However, my kids never really knew my mom and now I have just a handful of pictures to show them what she looked like.
Unfortunately, I do the same thing. I don’t want my picture taken because I hate the way I look in them. Not just some pictures, but all pictures. Here’s the problem – my kids know what I look like. No matter how fat I feel I look in a photo, that’s how I look. Oh sure there are bad angles, bad lighting, bad whatever…but generally speaking, that’s what I look like, for better or for worse. I hide behind the camera taking photos of others. And we have thousands thanks to digital photography and free storage. But again, very few photos of me. After going through my mom’s things, I realized that’s not really fair to my kids. Why shouldn’t they have pictures of me? They know what I look like now. They will remember what I look like years from now. Not being in any photos won’t change any of that.
I’m not a model. Having access to my photo isn’t some “gift”. But it is a gift to those who love you isn’t it? What’s one of the first things that happens when someone dies? People start posting pictures of them on social media. They begin looking for pictures to display at their memorial service. It helps them remember and honor their loved one.
Last year I was photographed with my oldest daughter when we were doing the photos for her 8th grade formal. She looked so beautiful and I took probably over a hundred pictures of her. When she peeked at the photos she would always say, “ewww”. I didn’t get it because when I looked, I couldn’t believe my little baby girl turned into the beautiful young lady I saw in those pictures. When it was suggested I get in the photo with my daughter, my instinct was to decline. Then I thought of the box of photos that belonged to my mom that had so few pictures of her and I agreed. I hate the way I look in the photos from that day, but that’s exactly how I looked that day. When we look at those photos years from now, it will remind us of the whole afternoon. My daughter getting ready with her friends, inside jokes, laughing hysterically, and going to the park to take more photos with friends. Those pictures can provide all those memories. Who am I to cheat anyone of that?
When someone else looks at the photos of me, they will probably just see some ordinary woman. When my kids look at those photos, they (hopefully) will see the BEST mom; the most beautiful mom. I would rather give my kids lots of photos that I personally hate, rather than a box of pictures that includes everyone but me.
Stop cheating your family and yourself out of those memories. Take the pictures. Pose, laugh, be silly…but take the pictures.