There are a lot of snapshots from my childhood. Photos of me and my brothers and sister at the beach, at holidays, playing together in our backyard. There are even some shots of us with my dad, but looking through our family photos it’s almost impossible to find a photo of my mom. There’s the one of her pregnant with my twin brothers, and the one of her at Easter with an amazing perm. And there are no portraits of my whole family all together. No portraits showing me what we looked like all together as we grew through the years.
There’s a saying I love, “The days are long but the years are short,” that reminds us that the time we have with our kids at any age is fleeting. Sometimes it may seem like otherwise, when they are painting the wall with mac and cheese or when they are singing ‘Let It Go’ for the thirty-fourth time today. But then it seems like all you do is blink and your baby is in high school.
With your precious family time flying by so quickly, family portraits matter. Recording memories matters. Setting aside just a few hours every year to capture your family’s love and unique relationship truly has the biggest return on investment of anything your family will do together. These will be images that your daughter collects when she makes a slideshow for her wedding or the images that your grandchildren pore over to see what their dad used to look like.
I believe that annual family portraits are more precious than anything else you could buy. These are the things that childhood memories are made up of. These are the moments that your kids will be looking for in twenty years.
Most of all, I believe that Mom needs to get in front of the camera, instead of always behind. Don’t make your kids have to search for the one moment that you were all in a photo together. Think about how much your own mom was part of your childhood, and how much you wish you could see that when you look at your family photos. You are the most important person in your child’s life, make sure you exist in photos for them.