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Get in the Picture

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If you’re like most moms, you probably have dozens, even hundreds, of pictures of your kids. You might even have that many from just this month. Years from now, you’ll be able to look back and fondly remember all sorts of moments with your kids, from the big, hugely important ones to the small, sweet ones. Perhaps your camera is always at hand—especially if you happen to have one built into your phone. You make opportunities for fun or funny poses; you take advantage of those moments when they don’t realize that you’re paying attention; you snap pictures just to capture your daily life, because you know you’ll never be able to capture this day again.

When was the last time you got in the picture with your kids?

Think about that for a minute. Are the pictures of you the ones that are formal and posed, taken at best a couple of times a year? Are you always dressed your best, your hair perfectly fixed, your makeup in place, in the pictures of you that make their way into the family photo albums?

Is that really how you want your kids to remember you?

When they look back on all these memories that you’re making, of course they’ll know that you were there. Someone had to be holding the camera, after all—but will they remember that you jumped into the middle of it right along with them? That you made paper snowflakes for hours just because that was your daughter’s current obsession? That you decorated cookies and dove right in to cleaning up the mess afterwards?

Will they remember that you read to them more often than they picked up the books on the floor and read on their own? That you sat for hours with them in a rocking chair just because they wanted to cuddle? That you were the one making all those crafts with them, finishing off the parts they just couldn’t get right, making the first version of it so that they could see how it was done?

Some of it, they’ll remember.

Some of it, you need to show them.

Get in the picture. Hand your camera to your older kids and let them capture the moment every once in a while. It doesn’t have to be perfect—it just has to reflect that you were there. Hand your camera to your spouse (even if he will only take half the pictures you would). Hand your camera to a stranger and ask them to capture a moment with you in it, too.

Make yourself part of the picture, too. Someday, your kids will cherish those memories just as much as you do.

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