At first, I thought it was overkill. But now, I’m so glad she did it.
Last weekend was my middle girl’s prom. A big ordeal for all teens everywhere, but an even bigger one for my girl. A girl who’s been looking at dresses “just for fun” for a good two years now, who’s jokingly called her love life “hopeless” for a few months now, a girl who loves Nicholas Sparks books and is a romantic at heart.
So when the boy asked and the dress was bought and the hair appointment made, I felt nothing but excitement for my daughter. Next up? Pictures.
“We’re taking them at the park. One of the moms hired a professional photographer. So you can take your own, or order some from him.”
Really? A park? A professional photographer? For prom? It’s not a wedding for crying out loud. My mind went here, because this is where my mind goes as a seasoned parent in this over-the-top world of ours.
A world where many of us are climbing up very high into our children’s affairs.
A world where parents keep tabs on their child’s every move, worry about his every mistake and praise his every achievement.
A world where parents are knocking themselves out to make their children the center of their lives and attempt to give them a pain-free childhood (impossible to achieve of course, and perhaps we’re damning them with our efforts-did I just write that?!).
But I digress; let’s save that one for another blog post.
Of course I wanted pictures. So off we went to the park that night to snap a few shots of our girl and her date as well as her group of friends.
It was then that I realized something pretty vital: dances no longer offer professional photographers to take pictures. This is why we parents and kids gather together for school dance photos; otherwise there wouldn’t be any.
Technology has changed so much about how we live and do things in the past few years. Taking a photo and sharing it is about as easy as breathing. We can snap and post and share and save, and we can do it all for free.
But for all the photos we take, we rarely print them. We click, we post, we view, we enjoy. Then we are done. Said photos remain in our phones, on our computers, in our Facebook albums forever. But my question is this: what happens when we grow old and weary of the technology? When we no longer get on Facebook, use a cell phone or access the Cloud?
I happen to be old school. I’m one of those people who takes pictures and prints them and then shoves them in a photo album. But I am of a dying breed. My kids, they snap more pictures in a day then I do in a year, but they never print them.
It feels alarming to me.
For my entire life, I have loved looking at old photos. Give me a good rainy Sunday afternoon with not one interesting show on cable and I’ll dig through an old photo album. Inevitably I’ll drag my kids into the room, asking them to guess which sister is in this or that photo.
I laugh and point out my big ‘80’s style hair from my college years.
I show them the photo of Grandpa Orma and Grandma ‘Cille smiling and remind them how they put on a dance show for them that one Thanksgiving, Grandpa’s last.
Recently I was digging through old boxes in the attic, looking for records from the last high school reunion I’d planned a few years back. What I found instead was a box of old photos from high school. Pictures from my prom, spring break trips, and the homecoming parade.
What a trip to see myself from another time and place. A young girl who had no idea what lay ahead in her life.
But what about my girls? How will they go down memory lane? Will they pull out an old phone and recharge it? Page through old Facebook photo albums? Will the Cloud or Dropbox last forevermore? It’s a small thing but also a very big one. Digital photos are wonderful but I’m not sure they are eternal.
So I’m grateful to this mom who thought ahead. This mom who probably isn’t an over-the-top mom at all, but just someone who wanted to document an important moment in her child’s life with an actual, physical photograph.
As for me, I guess when I am old and gray (guess I should say older and grayer) I’ll at least have my own photos for reminiscing.