Family Milestones (Day 2 of 31 Days)
Family traditions don’t have to happen every year. “Usually” and “sometimes” are just as legitimate. When you miss getting a photo of an important event, let it go. The purpose of our family photos is to hold and reflect some of the love we feel for our dear ones. In other words, the people are what matters. Don’t waste even a thought on the photos you missed; the love is inside you. Self-compassion makes you a better parent and a happier person.
If you have children and you missed getting a good first-day-of-school photo, you can take a “first band practice of the new year” picture instead. If you don’t get a picture of your teenager holding the newly issued driver’s license, catch a photo of her first trip through a drive-through, or first time driving to school, or first time backing into a parking space. After all, those are all small victories that are worthy of notice.
Remember, too, that spontaneity adds its own charm to a shot. After all, a lot of the appeal of those “first day of school” shots lies in the ambivalent nature of the situation. Some kids are beaming wholeheartedly, all big grins and shiny new shoes; plenty of other children, though, face the first days (or weeks) of a new school year with a heart-tugging mix of excitement, nervousness, and terror. Capturing that mix of emotions is part of what it interesting to snap a photo just before the bus arrives on that first morning of the new year. Any situation that has a similar mix of strong emotions is going to be one that’s memorable and is rich with photo opportunities.
And, of course, you want to be sensitive. As a dad, I’ve often been guilty of wielding my camera at times when my kids just want to be left alone. It’s so tempting to try to memorialize all those big moments. “Come on,” I hear myself pleading with them. “Just one shot.” To give you a piece of advice that I don’t always follow myself—let it go. Someday, some photo you take will be your last. But it’s not likely to be the particular one you’re taking at the moment.
(For the month of October 2017, I’m participating in the 31 Days bloggers’ challenge. You can find out about it here, and check out the interesting work other bloggers are posting.)