“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.”
― Marc Riboud
That trip cross-country was a hard one. In March, We traveled from the middle of Florida to Arizona in 12 days.That might not seem like it was a hard haul, but along with stopping to visit the kids’ school in person, and seeing various family and friends, we spent those days dodging severe flooding in the south, tornados across Texas, and then were stopped for 2 days due to extremely high winds in middle of absolutely nowhere New Mexico. There was more than once when we asked ourselves if this trip was meant to be – but we pushed on.
I knew it was important to me to get to Arizona to spend Spring Break 2016 with my parents, but I could never possibly have known just how important that month we spent with them would be until now. Mom has been gone just over 3 heartbreaking months. We have survived our first holiday, Thanksgiving, and are closing in on Christmas shortly. Nothing is the same. A lot of days lately, I find myself on a desperate search for pictures or videos. I just want to see her face, hear her voice – have her with me in the room for one more minute in some tangible way.
I’ve always been a shutterbug, but after I had kids it became increasingly important to me that we capture memories of my parents with our kids. I got better at it as my kids got older. It was easier to let them interact with my parents while I stood back and took photos once they were out of the baby stage. I am so thankful that I did this during that Spring Break trip in March of this year. I have so many precious candid as well as posed photos. They are not perfect – but they are so much more special than I ever could have imagined now. These photos instantly take me right back to the moments they were taken and I can almost hear my Mom’s voice as she rode the train with us that spring day, taught Anakin how to feed the fish so they’d all come near him, and proudly cheered as Allie caught her first fish and ran to Grammy for a hug.
I insisted in July 2012 that we include my parents in our family photos we’d booked to take place during their vacation. To be extremely honest, nobody was really happy about it! We had to set aside a whole day for making sure we were ready, driving over an hour to the location to meet our photographer, plus time for getting outfits that went together etc. Plus, they were expensive and we could barely afford it – but I found a groupon, sacrificed in other budgeted areas and made it happen. It was hot and humid that day but it was ONE day that we sacrificed. And now? Friend’s these pictures are so priceless to all of us!
Once our son came along, I jumped at the first opportunity to get professional photos taken with all of us. A photographer friend so generously offered to take these precious photos for us and to this day I simply cannot thank her enough for the gift she gave us with these photos. Again, it was during my parents’ nearly-annual vacation to see us. Nothing about that day was perfect — but every single moment captured that day? Priceless.
I could go on forever, but the tears keep flowing as I look at all these photos of my Mom. So I’ll leave you with this. I am forever thankful we pushed through every difficult part of that trip to make it back “home” to spend Spring Break with my parents. Those memories will last a lifetime and are something I will truly treasure forever, and my kids will as well. It is WORTH IT.
If you can afford family pictures taken by a professional, I promise you they are worth the investment. If you can’t, please just grab any camera you have – whether it’s a phone camera or a disposable camera and TAKE THE PICTURES. Not every picture will be amazing… you don’t have to love your body in every photo. But take the pictures. Be in the pictures. You never know when a picture will become absolutely priceless.