Monday, March 31, 2014

The Importance of Photographs

Photos are important. They document the moment in time and freeze it for generations to come. Photos can remind us of people, events, or the beauty (or pain) of a place. I've always loved photos for the emotions they can invoke. One of my favorite activities as a child was looking through old photo albums with my grandfather, especially the pictures from when I was a small child. My parents' wedding album was another favorite book of mine, showing how much love they had for each other that day. Everyone looks so happy in those photos and I could always see the foundation they laid for an amazing 36 years of marriage. My desk at work has a few photo collages from various day trips I've taken with my husband when we were dating. I love the photos of changing leaves over a lake, and I can almost see the jellyfish from the aquarium dancing off the page. I'll never forget those moments, and I have the photos to remind me of that.

Lately I've been going through a lot of photos. We lost my adoptive mother this month and photos have been one part of the healing process. We put together photo boards and slideshows for her wake and funeral, and in the process remembered many fun times. I have several pictures of my mother smiling and happy, clearly loving life in the moment that I look at whenever I start to doubt things. I'm instantly brought back to that moment and remember how much I was loved. We shared some great memories over the years and we have reminders now to prove it.

One of my projects I've been working on lately has included putting together photo collages for our new house. We put a lot of things off over the past few months and now we're starting to get back to the house (a welcome distraction). I love surrounding myself with photographs, reminders of the people I love and the fun times we've all shared. I look at the photos we have displayed and I'm amazed at the choices. They show just how much things have changed over the past few years.

I have photos of my adoptive family, my husband's family, and my natural family all together. There's a picture of me with my adoptive sister on my wedding day, and another one not three feet away of my natural sisters and me from the day we met. My husband's family (and now mine) are in the same room, smiling down from photos as everything is mixed in together.

We have photos from the beach, cherry blossoms from DC, and pictures from New York City all living together peacefully reminding us of times gone by. Every day I'm reminded of how lucky I am to have these opportunities. These photos remind me of the places I've been and hints of the places I'm going. They make me feel like I have the world at my fingertips!

Photos are important. They give a glimpse to the outside world of who we are and where we've been. I've been lucky enough to have the photos now that are important to me. My collection is growing with my natural sisters in it, a huge part of my life that was missing before. My story is getting more complete with each email, phone call, or visit. I'm one of the lucky ones. My photos now more accurately showcase my life, all the different parts of it. I look at those photos, living harmoniously together, and wonder why it's such a hard thing for people to seem to grasp. I don't see the threat that others seem to see in those photos. All I see is unconditional love.

I'm glad that someday when my life is boiled down to a bunch of old photographs my history will be recorded in all it's facets. I just wish that all my fellow lost daughters (and sons) had that opportunity as well. So for now, I'll surround myself with my photographs and dream of a better tomorrow for all of us. I'll dream of a day when everyone can have the opportunities to take the photographs they want to take and to have them displayed as they want them. Someday.