This is a cross post from my photography blog, but it is a personal post. So, it belongs here as well.
Something has been sitting on my heart very heavily over the last few years. And, it's my own fault.
I have never been one to be in front of the camera. But, I sure do love being behind it. I love capturing memories of my kids and my husband. in pictures. I have prints and canvases around the house of my kids from over the years growing and changing. I have all of these changes documented in print and in digital form for us to look back over and remember. There was only one problem. I was never in any of them. It is my own insecurities that held me back. I'd pop out of the view finder any time someone would raise a camera in my direction, I'd put my hand up to block any recognition of myself if I couldn't move quick enough. I never let my husband take charge of the camera during holidays or birthdays to share in the documentation. I always did it myself so I could "make sure the camera settings were right". But, in reality, it was just my way of dodging being in the front of the lens. I know my husband is fully capable of working a camera ( yes, even my BIG camera! ) I kept telling myself, Let me lose a few pounds first, let me get my hair done first, let me do this, let me do that.... and before I knew it, years had past. The last time we had a REAL family picture taken was before my son turned 1. I think he was about 6 or 7 months old in those pictures. He is now 7 YEARS old and we have another addition to the family... and she is going to be 4 at the end of this month. I have waited too long. I know my kids don't care about my insecurities. They see me how they see me. As their mom. Just as I am. And this is how they are going to remember me. Or try to anyway. I know they won't be able to keep that image in their head unless I give them something physical they can hold on to for their memories. Their are a few random shots of me here and their. And their is 1 snap shot of a family picture that comes to mind. But, that is it. Nothing else.
The issue really started to press harder and harder down a few weeks ago. My kids came home from school one day with letters about Earthquakes. We live in Alaska. They happen. A LOT! A lot more than we are aware of. ( Yesterday we had a BIG one that scared the daylights out of me! It was between a 5.7 and 5.9, I'm not seeing a definite number on it yet ). Anyway, the letter was asking for parents to make each child an earthquake preparedness bag. In it they needed a pair of gloves ( it's COLD UP HERE!!! ), bottles of water, snacks, and extra pair of socks, and..... a family picture. As soon as I saw "family picture" on that list, my mind started racing! We don't HAVE a family picture! What if we have a huge earthquake and my kids are stuck at school! All their friends will be clutching pictures of their family for their own security and to help keep them calm... and what will my kids have? NOTHING! It was at that point that I KNEW I needed to push aside all of my own feelings and put my kids first. They needed a picture of all of us together. But, I also needed a picture of all of us together. The reality of a big earthquake up here is VERY real. Even more real to me today than it was when I got those letters home from school.
So, this past weekend I made it a POINT to go out and do family pictures. It was -7* outside, but it was beautiful and clear out! Luckily, my hubby was on board with dragging our kids out in the frigid temps. We grabbed lots of blankets, and jackets. Long johns were work under clothing. And the car was kept running with the heat blasting just a few feet from wherever we were shooting at. We did it. We got our family pictures done and I couldn't be more happy! I feel full now. That emptiness has faded and is filled with giddiness over the images we were able to capture that day! I can't even tell you how many times I have said to Adam " I am so EXCITED/HAPPY/THRILLED/LOVING these pictures we got!!". I am so happy to finally be able to fill a big frame with ALL of us and put it up on our wall to display!!! But, I am even more happy that my children have pictures in their earthquake preparedness bags to hold on to for comfort, should something happen.
I waited too long. I avoided so many opportunities to be in pictures with my kids. And, I regret it. Don't do the same. Make an effort to be in images with your kids. Even if just a cell phone picture. I am going to try harder to do this myself. I am going to have to learn to step in front of the lens more often, to hand my camera over to my husband and say "snap away!", to hug my kids and goof around with them and have it be caught on "film"! I need proof that I was in deed a big part of my kids lives. So, anyway!
Now that all that morbid stuff is out!!!! Here are the images we got that I am so happy with!!!
My hubby and I had an idea ( that I saw posted by many photographers over the years ) that we wanted to do for a shot. So, while he was off getting that ready, I started off by getting some images of the kids together. Maddybug had a set of antlers... but, she broke them! lol! This is when they realized what their mommy and daddy's idea was and they were excited about what was going to happen next! Yup! Mommy and daddy tied them up with Christmas lights! They really weren't all that sad about it! In fact, they got a kick out of it! And then.... here is proof!! They DO have a mom!!! I ran off to check the camera settings and the shots we had gotten so far. The older... kids... started joking and goofing off. But, not Maddy! She kept her eyes on mommy!!! Another family picture :) And THIS ..... well, this is about how we were feeling at the moment! Lol!!! It was -7*! We were running back and forth between in front of the camera and behind the camera where the car was running waiting to keep us toasty between shots! It was a bit difficult to get the kids to 100% cooperate. Soooooo, it may have gotten a tad difficult!!! But, this was a fun shot that my hubby insisted on doing! The kids thought it was hilarious as you can plainly see!! Hubby also wanted to do that famous JUMP shot that everyone has to get! Maddy and I jumped a little too soon. So, we landed as hubby hit the shutter button on the remote! But, check out that air the boys got!!!! One lst one before my kids had enough and didn't want to get out of the car anymore. I was hoping to get more shots at this location, but none of the other ones turned out well. This is when the bickering started and we knew we were done. But, we still drove off to explore other places! My handsome hubby was trying to get a shot of Mt. McKinley ( husband ) and Mt. Foraker ( wife ), which you can see from this spot on base. He wanted to get a picture of us under each mountain. But, the sun wasn't cooperating! We did manage to get some pictures of just the two of us together though! Which, I treasure!!!! We don't have enough pictures of the two of us together beyond our teen years and our wedding. These pictures make my heart happy!! All of these images make me happier than I had ever imagined they would! I NEED to get better about this! My insecurities don't matter when I have kids that I need to take care of! And part of taking care of them is making sure they have something of US to hold on to for the rest of their lives. Something they can go back to when they need to remember US as a family!