I believe that I have taken photos of everything in my kids' lives:
toys, art, activities, smiles,
food, ideas, favorites, developments,
playing with their dad, friends, and cousins,
temper tantrums, discoveries, holidays and every days.
Do you know what I don't have? Photos of me. Photos of us.
Have you seen the family portraits by Diego Goldberg? Every year, on his wedding anniversary, he takes a close up, black and white portrait of every member of his family. I don't know this family and I have studied their progression through the years. Personally, I've managed to take a close up portrait of my kids almost every month of their entire lives. It is amazing to scroll through those months and see their faces change. I wonder what it would be like to see Paul that way. Or *gulp* myself.
I don't have very many photos from my own childhood that are of my parents. I can flip through the mental catalog of each one that was taken, that is how few there are and how frequently and completely I have studied them.
I wonder if my kids will go looking for evidence of me in photos. Will they know me and not just the fuzzy edges of who I was?
If I only keep the ones where I have managed to look put together, my face angled so that my nose is not too prominent, and my body positioned so that I do not look too out of shape, will they recognize me in their memories?
Will they understand that normal can be beautiful and familiar?
I want to be present in my kids' history but I also want to be present in my own. I want to be able to look back at photos from this time, when I was still young (or at least not very old) and capable. I want to see my own before and after and before and after photo. I want to see my ponytail at all ages.
So, I am going to do this. I'm going to get on the other side of the camera, and even harder, I am not going to delete every photo of me. Game on.