Picture of great-grandfather's 90th birthday cake covered in burning candles while he listens to family singing happy birthday

Pictures of You

Pictures of you are not for you. Sure, sometimes it’s nice to admire a *really* good photo of yourself, but for the most part, we’re each our own worst critic, and we hide photos of ourselves in drawers or the deepest folders on our hard drive, or just delete them altogether.

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But those pictures of you are not meant for you. They’re for your kids, your partner, your future offspring. They’re meant for your mom and dad, your family, your friends. Those photos are the link between you and them, when you’re not together. When you live far apart and the only way they get to see you is through photographs, pictures are the glue that hold you together. They pull on heartstrings and make babies giggle. 

My grandfather (who reads my blog, hi Grandad!) turned a big milestone birthday last week, and our family gathered from up and down the east coast to surprise him and my grandmother for a big birthday weekend. We took tons of pictures and are now busy sharing them back and forth, laughing at funny memories and seeing the weekend from others’ perspectives. 

We also gifted him a great big collage of photos of all of us: his 4 kids, 11 grandkids, 6 great-grandkids and all of our partners and extended families. It was a massive project, with 300+ photos from more than 60 years of family get-togethers, holidays, milestones, weddings, and birthdays. We compiled them all together to create one giant 30×30″ memento of our family. Some parts of the collage were of photos taken professionally (it helps that two of the grandkids are pros) but the vast majority were snaps and candids taken on the fly. The gift was a rousing success, and we’re all so happy we can be part of it. 

Photos are precious things. They bind us together, document our lives and history, allow others to see things they weren’t able to physically experience. Pictures help your children to know you and see you in a way that they can’t see you in real life: as a person, not just a parent. 

As you celebrate the holidays this year, inch into those photos. Pull out your phone and document some history. Hire a pro for a lifestyle session of cookie making and ornament hanging. Don’t hide behind Aunt Nancy, or skip out on the group photo. Just think: those photos will be cherished in 60 years, and your great-grandkids will love how you look. 

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