This last weekend, I went with a group of four other women to a national meeting of the local non-profit we work with in our community. We saw a beautiful church.....note the pictures above :)
We also had a chance to sight-around town, so we took the opportunity to walk down to one of the Great Lakes.
Since I've spent time traveling with just my daughter to visit my brothers and their families while my husband held down the fort at home, I've had lots of times when a picture of the two of us had to be an arms' length photo. Even with the other ladies to take pictures, I still liked taking these pictures.
I started thinking about why that would be. First, I like that they're casual and fun. Also, I take a large volume of pictures and I don't want to make someone take a photo shoot of me while we're out and about - better to snap as I go.
I also started wondering if all this picture taking was a sign of being a little too self-centered. It all kind of coalesced in a conversation I had with one of the women this weekend about having only a couple pictures from my pregnancy. I wasn't happy with how I looked and I just didn't want the pictures. Now that I look back on that, I wish I would have celebrated the awkward, not-so-cute puffiness for posterity.
When my aunt passed unexpectedly a few years back, there weren't a lot of pictures of her. After having this experience of a loved one and the experience of not having those poignant pregnancy photos of me carrying my daughter, I made a very unconscious switch. I didn't really think about being in pictures more, but as I look back, these last few years have seen me in front of the camera a whole lot more.
I'm not any skinnier or prettier than when I used to refuse to be in front of the camera. But now, I want those memories. Yes for myself, but more for children and grandchildren. I know how precious my photos of loved ones are. I don't see the imperfections they do when I look at these pictures, I see their emotion and remember my love for them. Seeming a bit camera-happy is really about giving a gift to my loved ones. I'll still cringe occasionally over an awkward pose or weird face, but it's not about admiring myself, it's about making my children smile someday.