Saint Croix is home and one of my great loves. It is however 1838 miles from my hometown and family in Kentucky. With the holiday season holding such wonderful memories from my childhood, I often fall a little this time of year. Don't get me wrong, drinking a mojito while Kevin builds a 'Sandman' on the beach is an experience I am very fond of, but childhood memories of thawing out in front of the fireplace, next to the wet snowsuit that hit the ski slopes all day with me, is a special kind of memory.
So when I was fortunate enough to spend the start of the holiday season with my family, I was of a mind to indulge in reminiscence. Sat there in the kitchen with my nephews, flipping through old photo albums that my mother had crafted and retelling old stories. As we walk the halls of my parent's and sister's houses, covered with portraits of our family, I was struck by how fortunate we are to be able to pass on our family legacy in such a meaningful way. Though I was never able to know him, when I look at portraits of my great-grandfather I'm reminded of all of the brave, kind and wonderful things he accomplished in his life and there is a sense of all-encompassing kinship that feels like a warm hug from a sweet angel.
Witnessing the generations of my family unfold gets more special every year. When I was a child I felt an affinity for pictures of my grandparents, aunts & uncles as children... wondering if they too wanted a puppy more than ANYTHING. As a young adult, I gravitated to my family as they experienced young adulthood - pictures of my mother before her first date or my grandfather as he preparing for military deployment. Revisiting the progression of my family legacy year after year I have more insight as to what the lives of my great-great-grandparents might have been like and the connection only grows deeper.
When surveyed about home tragedies people say they would try to save family members and pets first then family photos. Family photos cannot be replaced... laptops, hard drives, TVs, sofas, homes can be replaced, but as yet there is no time machine that can bring back memories once they have been lost. This moment cannot be replaced. There will always be a soccer game, or hair appointment or 10 pounds to lose, but you and your family will never again be as they are now. Don't squander the time you have together, document these moments.
Make a plan to get together on the beach, to play, to talk, to connect and let me capture the memory for you all, for your future.
Psychological studies have shown that adorning the walls of your home with family portraits give children a greater sense of self-worth and family values. Knowing that they mean enough to be displayed as art for everyone to enjoy gives them pride in themselves, and knowledge that they are genuinely cherished. I know I felt that way growing up in my house!
Do you know someone who has been talking about having family photos taken but can't ever seem to find the time to make it happen?
Think about gifting a photography session. The past few years have seen a huge swing in popularity for giving experiences as gifts. It's the perfect solution for the person who is impossible to shop for. Can you imagine how happy they'll be to receive such a lasting and meaningful gift!? I have goosebumps just thinking about it :)