I've been putting photos in albums for months. No organization, no chronological order....just taking photographs from wherever--usually photo envelopes piled in plastic bins--and filling albums with them. I bought the albums at Target--nice, big, sturdy volumes with space to write something about every picture. If if this wasn't such a gargantuan job I'd try to think up clever captions for some of the pictures. But as it is, I write "Jill on Aurora, 1991"..."Suzanne, age 4, Gillian, age 2"..."Joey, 2 weeks old"..."Nocci and Buddy" (cats)... "Angel, 1998" (dog) and so on. Once in a very great while I write "me."
This family photographer didn't get her picture taken very often. There are the birth pictures, of course, the ones of Gillian's and Joey's births. The latter actually shows my face. And when Suzanne reached the age of five she took a few shots, like the prized one of little Jill patting my HUGE bare stomach (with Joey inside). But most of the albums show three children being raised by horses, dogs, and cats. And, occasionally, their father.
If any young mothers are reading this, here's my advice: Get someone to take your picture with your children once in a while. This could be anyone--the Avon lady, the person behind the counter at the health food store, the kid who collects the carts in Wal-Mart's parking lot. The first good thing about this is that you'll have a photo of yourself being a mother. The second good thing is that these won't be portraits; they'll be unposed, unrehearsed shots of you and your kids doing whatever it is you do all the time.
Children are beautiful, and it's a temptation to photograph them that way, in all their radiant beauty. I love those pictures, I really do. I'm putting them in my new albums by the hundreds. But I also love the candid shots....the dirty shirts, the messy hair, the comical facial expressions, the images that caught them in mid-movement doing everyday kid things. I wish I had more of them.
Children disappear as they grow. The five-year-old displaces the three-year-old, and we realize with a start one day that we'll never see that particular toddler again. Then we remember the newborn. And so it goes. Thank heavens for the camera. Use it well.