When A Picture Is All That Is Left
“I don’t think I have ever seen a customer get so many pictures developed so often.” The was a comment by a cashier at my local CVS over ten years ago, as she handed me a pack of more than 300 pictures that I had just had developed (printed) from a recent trip or event. And to be fair to the cashier, this was actually a regular occurrence.
Gone were the days of just using a Kodak instamatic, or a Poloroid, and ending up with either 12 or 24 prints. Digital cameras allowed us to take many more photos and save them. And today, you can actually take and store thousands of pictures on your phones.
In recent months, I worked on a personal project for each of my daughters. There was no particular reason I chose to do this, but being a sentimentalist, to say I enjoyed looking back through thousands of photos, is definitely an understatement.
But it was during my recent post about my father, that I reminded myself again, just as I did more than fifteen years ago, that I renew the conscious effort to make sure there are memories not just for me, but for my daughters as well, of the important people in their lives.
In my personal photo collection, I have less than a dozen photos from my childhood with either of my parents. In my adult life, I did a little better with pictures with my parents. My maternal grandmother, someone I consider one of the most influencial people of my life, the photo that I posted yesterday was the only photo of the two of us together, and I have only one other photo of her, with her sister. Other family members as well, it is the same, one or two photos, maybe a half dozen at best. And with many of those relatives having passed away, these photos literally are all that I have left.
One thing that I promised to do better, was to make sure that my daughters had plenty of memories to look at. And it is not just for their benefit, but mine as well. I spend a lot of my time, day after day, looking back at all the fun things that we had done throughout their short lives already.
I have done my best to document their earliest days, and much to their chagrin as teenagers, I have not eased up on the amount of photos I take. I make sure that there are photos with grandparents, cousins, friends, everyone who has been a part of their lives.
And what is just as important to them, us, is that even though there was a time when my body was not in the current health situation that it is in right now, struggling with the late effects from my cancer treatments, my daughters can remember the times that we shared, but as they see current photos, though our activities with each other are within my abilities to function, the smiles are still the same. We still have tons of fun. And you can see that.
Ten, twenty years from now, there are no shortage of photos to look back upon. We have had a great time so far, and there are plenty of days ahead, and a lot more photos to take. But one thing is clear, of all things that matter to me most, is being a Dad. Some day they are going to go off to college. Some day they are going to go off on their own. And I am going to need these pictures, until I get the chance to take some more.