I grew up around tons of pictures. On the walls, in shoe boxes, photo albums galore. I loved to sit with whoever would tolerate me and look through all these pictures. Some were from my Nana’s childhood; her and my great aunt in their Sunday best. When she graduated nursing school with her best friend who would later become her sister-in-law. Pictures from parties and get togethers before and after I was born. Some had me in them but a lot did not. I just loved to sit and hear the stories, the glossy paper in my hands, an amazing peek into the story I was listening to.
Pictures of my children resurfaced when I brought my husband home to meet my family. Me, age three, sitting in the spaghetti pot next to my kiddie pool (the water was warmer and I was a bit of a princess). My hula skirt & coconut shell bikini my uncle bought in Hawaii when I was six. Me as a toddler with an eyeliner mustache dressed up like a little frenchman. You know, those “embarrassing” photos that come out when you bring someone home. The ones we take of our own children on a daily basis.
Now, where are your pictures? Your computer and phone? A disc? Facebook? What about when technology advances? Fails? Remember floppy discs? There is no easy way to recover that information and it turns out they had expiration dates. Computers now aren’t coming with disc drives any more. Remember MySpace? It’s making a comeback, or at least trying, but it’s not the same. Phones are stolen and irreplaceable photos gone forever. Hard drives crash. Discs get scratched. What about when we move on from Facebook? Or if we don’t? When your son brings home a girl fifteen years from now, will you pull up your old Facebook timeline to show her how adorable he looked as Batman at age four? I doubt it. That would be a lot of scrolling, if it’s still there.
Print your photos. Often. Buy photo albums and fill them, talk about a great rainy day activity. Throw them in a shoe box. Hang them on your walls. When you lose electricity, go through your old photos and remember. There’s a story behind that photograph. Because that is what a photograph is: a memory. A moment, frozen in time. So you can hold these snapshots of your life and remember. Laugh. Share your stories with your loved ones.
Because Facebook might not still have your awesome photos twenty years from now when you want a giggle or a visual reminder of what your son looked like when he was sleeping in his crib.
Here are two photos that are in a photo album somewhere in my closet. The first one is our first Halloween. The second is the 4th of July about 6 years later. We were born a month apart and our moms were friends. Now we live in different states, have our own families. But we’ll always have these memories, and I always smile and remember our sleepovers.