by Trish Harden
Recently, a Facebook post begging dads to take photos of the mothers in the family went viral. The message was simple: Capture the moments like she captures the moments for you.
As a scrapbooker and memory keeper I’m OK with this role, but it tends to create laziness in the dads when it comes to memory keeping. But, eh, we could get over that. The real problem?
This assumed role has led to what I call, “the plague of invisible mothers.” While the world has turned into a globe of oversharers, snapping photos of every sunset, morsel of food, and milestone for all their connections, mothers tend to be pretty absent. Of course, most often we’re the ones behind the cameras capturing it all, but I don’t solely blame the co-parents for this.
Ugh! I wish mom had thought about her double chin before making that face…
How many times have you said to your partner, friend ,or family member, “No! Don’t take my picture! I look horrible.”?
Or not put together?
How many times have you gone through photos you find yourself in and deleted them because you looked chubby, you spotted some muffin top, your hair was mess, you were red-faced and sweaty, your teeth looked too yellow, or you had cellulite?
You looked… not perfect?
Here’s what happened: You were afraid that someone would see the picture and judge you for your self-perceived flaws. So instead of taking a picture with your little one at the children’s museum having fun, you just take his or her picture alone. Why? Oh, because your hair’s a mess, you have a zit on your nose, and when you stoop to play your tummy rolls over your pants. Instead of asking your partner to get a picture of you and your children making sandcastles on the beach, you get dozens of shots of everyone else doing it. But because you never really lost those last 10 pounds before swimsuit season? Skip me.
How many times have you found yourself stepping out of view when the camera gets pointed your way? And how many times have you caused yourself to be invisible in the memories?
It’s OK to admit, because it takes only one step to change.
Take a moment to step outside yourself as parent and think of yourself as the child. Think of your own family albums and how much you cherish the photos of you and those who raised you. These photographs of the principals in your life are cherished, right? Not just the staged family photos, the graduation photos, or wedding group shots, but the shots of those everyday moments.
The pictures of you helping your grandmother cook, you and your mom swinging at the park, or you and your grandfather sitting on the front porch. Your favorite baby picture where your mom is dangling you from her arm and making a silly face at the camera.
You just see them. You see them and remember the good times, the tough times, the fun times, the sad times.
If you’re like me, just one glance can take you back to times when you felt loved, happy, carefree. You don’t look at those photos and see their flaws. You don’t look at them and think, “Ugh! I wish mom had thought about her double chin before making that face… “ You just see them. You see them and remember the good times, the tough times, the fun times, the sad times.
You hold onto these memories and show them to your own children. Sometimes these are the only tangible pieces of these people that you have left to share and you wish that you had more. Me? I’ve never stopped wishing that I had more photos with my grandfather or great-grandmother.
Ask anyone who’s lost a parent or close relative. They never wish that they had fewer photos with them; always they wish they had more.
One day your children will be grown and out of your house. And one day, too, you will be gone, and when that happens? Those you leave behind will never wish that you had stayed out of the picture on your frumpy, chubby bad hair days. So please, get in the frame and take the damn picture.