Stop for a minute. Stop rushing. Stop with the distractions. That text can wait. Facebook can wait. The phone can wait. Work can wait. Take a minute and read this. Actually let it soak in. Last Saturday was a gorgeous day here in the Hudson Valley. I had a client reschedule their session that day and it was too beautiful to NOT be out shooting. I had been trying to coordinate with a friend for a while to do her family’s portraits and asked if she was available even though it was last minute. She was exhausted. She had a very hellish week and just needed to rest. Who could blame her? Especially when a family portrait would mean wrangling, cleaning up and coordinating three children, herself and her husband. Anyone who has had a nice family session will probably tell you that it takes a while to plan your outfits and pretty much a full day to get ready. Of course I couldn’t blame her for wanting to just rest that day. I photographed my own daughter instead that day.
Fast forward to last night. I had just gotten home from an engagement session and hopped onto facebook. The third post down was my same friend, posting just minutes before, asking for prayers. Her son, her middle child, her kindergartener, the little brother of my daughter’s best friend, had pulled a chest of drawers with a cable box and tube-style TV on top of it over on top of himself in a room that he wasn’t even supposed to have been in… a room that is normally locked. He was injured and it was pretty bad. He has 3 fractures on his eye socket and had a nasty concussion. He is extremely lucky to even be alive much less escaping with ‘only’ these injuries. I am SO very thankful that he is okay. I was also blessed to have photographed their family during a very brief mini session for our PTA fundraiser not even two weeks ago… images which I sent them tonight while they were still at the hospital. What if… that’s all I can think. Chills have run up and down my spine many times in the past 24 hours thinking about this horrific ordeal. I couldn’t sleep last night until she texted me that he was doing okay. I still keep thinking ‘what if’… and I wonder if my friend’s son will ever look the same as he did in the photos I just took of him. I know that none of them will ever BE the same. They are changed. They appreciate life even more than before. That’s what happens to people after something traumatic. They are forever changed. While I am sure that these images and those same ‘what if’ thoughts will haunt them for a long time, I am also 100% positive that this is causing them to do what we ALL should do… slow down. Drink it in. Appreciate. Love. Laugh. Just be.
That ‘What If’ will continue to nag at me but I can’t finish that thought out loud or type it because I choke up to even think it. I don’t care what your reason is for avoiding photos… I don’t care if you have gained 350 pounds in the last 6 months. I don’t care if all of your teeth and hair fell out and your skin is rotting off. I don’t care if you hire a professional or you take a photo with your 10 year old cell phone. Have a photo taken of your family – your whole family – today. I rushed through my last family portrait of my own family – a make-shift portrait session where we all took turns behind the camera – and inadvertently didn’t get one with my Dad… he died this year. STOP THE EXCUSES. PLEASE. I am BEGGING you. Stop being too busy, too self conscious, too consumed in other things. Your children don’t see what you see in the mirror. They see a mom that loves them, laughs with them and takes care of them. They see you as beautiful. Get in the photo with them. If it were your last day here would they have a recent photo to look at, to remember you by? Would they have one of you all together, laughing or snuggling? Please… take a family photo today.