.. And why I will continue to take them.
A month or so ago I posted this image on Instagram and Facebook
With a caption somewhat complaining/joking that no one ever told me I could style my hair like this and save so much time by not drying it for half an hour and then spending another half hour or more with the flat iron.
One hour later I received a note from a very concerned friend. Their concern.. that I am completely full of myself and a person should never post a selfie. Ever.
Now to be honest a couple of people left comments on the post saying I was pretty or cute.. My dad even called me beautiful. However Ive never thought any of those words described me. Oh they are nice to hear, but I automatically question the motives and truthfulness of the compliment giver.
Its a flaw. Ill continue to work on it
I would like to introduce you to a couple of my friends who have graciously allowed me to share a bit of their stories
*Names have been changed to protect their privacy. Even if you know them please respect that. Just smile or nod next time you see them at the grocery store, they will understand.
Let me introduce JJ
JJ is 4 years old. Every night he snuggles to sleep with a camera phone selfie of his mother that his dad printed for him. You see JJ’s mom is currently in Afghanistan. She has been there for 10months. (Don’t tell him, but dad says this is the fourth one he’s printed because it keeps getting tattered) While there are countless other photos of his mother, JJ loves this one. When I asked why he said her smile was true. Hmmm..
When I asked to see the photo, it was not at all what I expected. “Her smile is true”, so I expected a 20th retake to get just the right angle, the perfect smile and on the best side.. You know, you’ve done it!
Nope. What I saw was my friend with hair all a mess, tongue sticking out and crazy eyes. Its her to a T! And I completely understood JJ attachment to it.
Meet Mrs D.
D is 56, the child of a photographer.. back in the days when film was king. D’s mother passed away 22 years ago. Five years ago D’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. His most valued possession, a snap shot of their family from when D was just a toddler. As he walks by its frame he says “Look at my family. Aren’t they something! ”
When I questioned D about her favorite image of her mother she presented a similar photo, but in this one she is a bit older and her sister is the toddler. She told me how she vividly remembered her mother setting up the camera and tripod. How her mom arranged everyone, got the timer all set and ran back to the group and smiled just in time!
D had countless pictures of her, her sister.. even a few of her father. But only a handful of her mother. She has thousands of images, beautiful images, her mother took. Sadly there are all too few with her mother in them.
Heres my friend M
M is 32, happily married to the man of her dreams, mother to 2 fantastic kiddos here and one in Heaven. T passed 3 days after his 9th birthday. Just eight months ago.
M has 784 images on her phone. 700 of those are selfies with one or more of her children, friends and family. The majority of them include T.
She has no guilt. Could careless what others say when she posts a new selfie every day. Every Single Day M!
Sometimes she’s in pjs, others she’s all dolled up. 9 times out of 10 her children or husband or even the family dog join her.
” I have hundreds of pictures of the kids doing their school work, playing sports, hanging out at home, at youth activities.. you know all the normal stuff. But my favorite are our selfies. The ones where all our faces are squished together and we can’t help but laugh. Some one is always blinking or not looking. I look back on those and can’t help but smile. In the ones with T, our faces completely block out the IV poles and lines. You wouldn’t even know we were in a hospital. He’s smiling because we are being silly, its perfect. Just the way I want to remember our last days together”
All to often we as moms and women are reluctant to hop in front of the camera for what ever reason, but I am documenting our life.
And guess what my life has my face all over it!
Expect to see me!
If the unthinkable were to happen and I left this world tomorrow I want Caleb surrounded with pictures of me. Images that help jog memories of the fun and happy times.
But you know what, even if I live until Im 100 and see him grown, welcome children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren I want the same thing. I want to look back on my crazy hair styles and laugh. I want that memory captured on paper or even hidden away on a computer so its there to remind me of a time, a place a moment… even better shared on social media for all to see so others can remind me and share in the joy as well.
So heres my challenge. Its so easy to snap a picture of our kids enjoying a favorite restaurant, playing at the park or even at the doctors office.. but next time you do hug them close, stretch your hand out in that awkward position and snap a selfie. Make silly faces or give us your best smile. Tuck it away for a day when you need it. Or be brave and share it with the world.
There is no judgement. You are not conceited, self centered, fishing for complements.. just enjoying your life with your face written all over it!