Taylor was the kind of man who gave his all to everything he did. He lived with a permanent smile on his face and almost never complained. He could find fun in absolutely any situation and was always on the go. The one thing that was torture for him was being asked to stop whatever he was doing and pose for a family photo. My husband actually despised the awkwardness surrounding standing and smiling for a picture. I would constantly remind him that behind every cute girl on Instagram was a boyfriend who had to take countless photos of her pretending to have fun until he got it just right. All I was asking for was a quick pause to document for myself places we traveled to or events we attended. I never once even made him do a retake if I didn’t have my “skinny arm” pose ready.
Once I became a mother, I focused more on documenting my children who did not complain nearly as much as my husband. When we started talking about having a second child, I insisted on family photos before to capture our family of three. There is something truly wonderful about how a photograph can freeze a moment in time and allow us to look back and remember life as it was. Nowadays, most people carry a smart phone around at all times that allows us to take pictures whenever we want and then subsequently edit, share or delete from the palm of our hand. This instant gratification can cause us to forget how truly magical a photograph can be. When life changes in the blink of an eye, a photograph has the power to turn those fleeting instants into lasting memories.
I try to be someone who does not live attached to their phone. I prefer to be in the moment rather than watching through a screen. However, there are many times I have been caught up in enjoying moments or time with friends I don’t see often and then been disappointed that I didn’t remember to take a single picture. Last year, I insisted on taking family photos again. I tried to set it up to be as painless as possible for Taylor. We were up in Ruidoso for the weekend anyway, and I carved a 15 minute mini-session into our day with a precious and talented photographer who was set up for quick and easy family photos. I tried to spin it that the photo session was more or less a pitstop on our way out to dinner and I didn’t even ask Taylor to shave.
“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”Proverbs 27:1
We were both so happy with how the pictures turned out. We gushed over the sweet faces of our children and how fortunate we were to have our little family. I thought Taylor looked very handsome too! Never in a million years did I imagine that just four months after taking these family photos I would be cropping out Taylor’s face to print next to his obituary. We have no idea what life will look like four months from now, much less four hours from now. Time is human and it is one of the most precious gifts we have in this life. We should take more advantage of our ability to “freeze” it. I will be forever grateful for my family photos and all of the pictures that have captured my life so far.
I think most of us know all to well that tomorrow is not promised. The bible even tells us that we DO NOT KNOW what a day may bring. Since Taylor passed away, I find that I am able to focus on the good when I look back at photos. I look and see the places we went, the friends we made, and feel beyond blessed for a full and happy life. Finding joy in old pictures does not mean I am living in the past, but helps me to count my blessings. I am so thankful for all the times they have helped me to remember. If you are visiting family over the the next few weeks, do your mom a favor and smile for the family photo. If you wife wants to send out holiday cards, don’t give her a hard time and be glad you have your family to take a picture with. When tomorrow is not promised and all we leave behind are memories, smile for the photos that will help others remember while you can.
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