???I LOVE family pictures. I am a picture junkie in general. When I’m in a funk I need to grab my camera and head outside or sift through some photos. Typically it makes me feel significantly better. The challenge of capturing a beautiful image or looking at a snapshot that brings me back to a different place and time both produce joy for me.

My husband, like many husbands, is less enthused about getting family pictures taken. He once said to me as I pleaded for his cooperation in having photos taken that we all looked the same as we did the year before. Funny. The thing is, we don’t. There will come a time (sooner than I’d like) when we will compare last year’s photo to this year’s and realize that our son is taller than I am. Our photos have already recorded amazing change, the first photos of our son in my arms, then standing holding hands, and this year he is zooming by in the background on his four-wheeler. That is in just six years.???

So I insist we get the photos. While we can’t stop time, we can capture the moment to relive again in the future. The last two years we’ve come up with a system that seems to work pretty well, my friend Diane and I take photos for each other in the field behind our home. We are hobbyists, so there aren’t any great posing instructions or fancy filters, but it is convenient and comfortable – two things the guys appreciate. Oh and it is free, so make that three things the guys like.

So a week ago Sunday we headed out to the field on what was likely one of the last warm Sunday evenings we’ll have in these parts. We took as many photos as we could in the dwindling daylight. The next morning I got my CD of images from Diane and spent some time looking at them. Deleting the ones with blinks and odd expressions and narrowing it down to the favorites – the keepers. Typical for me, I laugh at our son’s goofiness, am highly critical of  myself, and think my husband is pretty darn cute.   ???

Sunday wasn’t the best day around our house. It hadn’t turned out to be the fun family day I’d looked forward to all week. I was disappointed. But we went to field in our color coordinated outfits and smiled anyway. I’m grateful for that. Because while the day wasn’t the best, we are at our best together and I have the pictures to prove it. I will share the pictures on Facebook and put my favorite in a frame. And I will keep one of the favorites close by, in my planner or on my desk, when I am stressed out or looking for direction I will look at the image before me and smile. It will remind me what is important. Most importantly, Max will perhaps someday look back at these and remember his childhood fondly…I hope.

So guys, when you are asked to get pictures taken – say yes, cooperate, and please smile. Ladies, get it done. If you can’t afford a professional photographer trade favors with a friend. This isn’t just for those with little ones. This is important for all ages. I treasure the few photos of I have of may grandparents together. So take photos of sweet new babies, but don’t stop there – document the boy becoming taller than mom, the increasing number of gray hairs, and the wrinkles – its all good to remember and a future gift to those who love you.