This I Believe

Crystal - Mechanicsville, Maryland
Entered on July 27, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family

Always Take Pictures

My mother always told me to take pictures. “A picture is a memory you can cherish forever,” she said. She takes pictures constantly and keeps a camera within reach. Likewise, I am addicted to taking pictures and always carry a camera in my purse. I have dozens of photo albums, over one hundred picture frames in my room, and stacks of film on my dresser waiting to be developed. Glancing around my bedroom I am able to remember that interesting “girl’s night out”, the miniature golf game I actually won against my boyfriend, my mother-daughter shopping trip, and that unforgettable party with my sorority sisters.

People make fun of my mom and me for taking so many pictures. “How many rolls of film did you buy for the weekend? Ten?” my boyfriend will ask jokingly. Although many find our obsession ridiculous, we feel it is essential. A few years ago I realized why my mom encouraged me to take pictures.

My Uncle Dennis, my mother’s brother, died suddenly August 31, 2003. Our whole family was grieving and did not know how to handle his unexpected death. Several days after the funeral, my mother got the courage to pull out a few photo albums. She looked at childhood events, holidays spent with Dennis, high school photos, weddings, etc. The last photo she looked at was taken a couple weeks before his death. It was a picture of him acting goofy on his birthday. The picture made my mom smile, which was something I had not seen her do for days.

Reflecting on the pictures was helpful for me as well. It made me think of all the fun times I shared with Dennis; this was important to me since he was one of my favorite uncles. We found pictures of him holding me as a baby, others of us Easter egg hunting, and one of him flying me in the air when I was young. The image that stands out in my mind the most is a photo of us laughing in front of the Christmas tree. This is how I remember him-always smiling. A simple picture encouraged my mom and I to recreate memories and think of happy times. It really soothed our spirits and hearts. “See why I take so many pictures?” my mom asked.

What if my little sister was playing “dress up,” my dad caught a huge fish, or my mom made an amazing cake? Or, what if this was the last moment I remember spending with someone before they died? All of these ordinary moments become special with the snap of a camera.

Always take pictures. They have the ability to portray a person as you want to remember them, and can take you back to places and events you may have forgotten. Taking pictures is a quick and easy way to capture the memories you have shared with the ones you love.