Three years ago, I wrote a post titled, In the Picture. It is a post (still one of my favorite's!) about the need for moms to be in the picture with their children. It's an important part of the story that is missing in many families memory keeping. Two months after my mother passing away, this line stands out:
Don't wait. Do it now. Do it today. You never know when tomorrow will stop being an option.
This is the only picture I have of both my parents with my kids. It was taken in August 2014, right before we left their house during part of our six week road trip. Unfortunately, my two littles ones were sleeping and aren't in the photo. But I am so glad I made my parents come outside to take this. I had no idea I wouldn't have another chance.
In November, as our family was camping in Florida, we got the call that my mother passed away very suddenly and very unexpectedly. That was it. Our time with her was over. As my sisters and I looked through photos, I felt a variety of things: thankful for the photos I did have, sorrowful for those we didn't take.
It's so easy to put things off until "tomorrow," but often, that "tomorrow" never comes. Good intentions don't make good actions. And of course, the problem with putting everything off until "tomorrow" isn't limited to the death of a loved one. Other times, it can be other things or situations that if you don't act now, it won't ever happen.
We have this path of sorts on our property. It is unique in that the ground is clear but there is a large canopy overhead. Bethany, my youngest daughter, calls it her "garden." She loves it and spent much of the summer playing in it. One day in September, I decided to finally take pictures of her there. I had been meaning to do it for a while but hadn't gotten around to it yet.
A few weeks after I took these photos, the electric company came to "trim" trees that are near the power lines running toward our house. Their "trim" ended up completely obliterating the canopy that made Bethany's garden so special and majestic. If I hadn't taken the time to simply photograph her there, I would have lost my chance entirely. I had no idea the power company would do that!
On the same day, my son wanted to play outside and take pictures too. He was being silly and dancing and making this goofy little face he has been known for. The thing is, he rarely does it anymore. It has been so much a part of him being three, and I am glad I now have photos to remember this short, but special, memory.
Our favorite camping spot, right next to the beach, has this amazing magnolia tree that provides shade and hours of climbing fun for the kids. We had reservations to camp in November, and when Hurricane Matthew made the news, we were all afraid our special, special tree would be wiped out. Thankfully, it was spared (though many trees at the campground were not), but if it had been ruined, at least I had taken lots of photos.
One day, he won't have freckles anymore
One day, they won't run and dance like no one is watching (doesn't this remind you of that episode of Friends when Rachel is embarrassed to run with Phoebe?)
One day, we won't have any more little ones who need a "power stick" for hiking (a story for another day!)
People die. Friends move. Kids grow out of stages. Houses are bought and sold. Favorite restaurants close and pets pass away. We never know when life will change and we need to be intentional about capturing important memories before it's too late.