Why you need to exist in photos

As featured in kidspot

Personal post – possible trigger warning Guys, I’ve been agonising on whether and how to post about this for a while… please bear with me. Nearly three weeks ago, my four year old son asked me to take photos. It was not an unusual request, we used to do it all the time, but you know… life happens. Truth be told when he asked me, I really couldn’t be bothered but I set up the studio anyway. When I told him I was ready to do his photos he got really upset and said “No Mummy, not by myself… with you”. Let me tell you, I felt like doing that even less! Under any other circumstance, I would’ve made an excuse or flat out refused but he’s been having a pretty rough time of late so I set up the tripod, threw my hair up, chucked on the easiest studio dress I could find and sat down. He climbed up on my lap, took a deep breath and snuggled into me. He didn’t need photos, he needed his mummy. My son felt he needed an excuse to be with me and for me to be fully present with him. This is our photo together. It would’ve been so easy to pick myself to pieces with things I didn’t like about myself or the technical aspects of the photo. I didn’t do that, because I didn’t care… and I care even less now. That is part one of the story… Here is part two. That evening I posted one of the images on my personal Instagram account. I received some really lovely comments including one from a pretty-close friend of mine, however we hadn't spoken much recently. We’d always interact on social media and comment on each other’s posts in the knowledge that we were only ever just a phone call or message away. She commented on my post saying “I love this photo”, I thanked her. Now, we’d been planning a family shoot for as long as I can remember but with two husbands, four jobs and seven kids between us, life just got in the way. I messaged her a couple of days later saying “we should do this with you and your kids” and thought little more of it. The hard truth is that she never read that message, nor will she ever. Unbeknown to me I’d sent it the morning after she’d suddenly and tragically lost her life. I should’ve taken the damn photos. So this is a message to everyone. Please… take the damn photos. And even more importantly, even if you’re running on three hours sleep, haven’t done your hair or makeup and feel like crap (as pictured), be IN the damn photos. Nothing gets in the way of life quite like death. This will one day be your legacy. To your children, your children’s children and generations to come. This photo of me and my son will be one I treasure forever… and also one that will haunt me forever. But I choose to use it as a reminder, always. To listen to the little voice that is desperate to be heard. To throw away the excuses. To be present. Love T x #getinfrontofthecamera #takethedamnshot #takethedamnphotos #existinphotos #bepresent #togsandtheirkids #nomoreexcuses

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