So many parents take pictures just of their children, or even have pictures professionally done, for that to be the family photo they share.
Why do so many parents leave themselves out of the picture? Why do they send only a picture of their children?
In some cases, these pictures go to close friends from the past, who may have little connection with those children, yet still are close to their friends the parents.
When I receive these “kids only” pictures, I find myself wishing I had a nice picture of their whole family – my friends (the parents), as well as their children.
Even other family members like uncles, aunts, grandmothers, would often prefer and treasure more a picture of the parents and kids as a happy family.
Maybe parents think they don’t change from year to year, while their kids do. Yet they do. And it is still important to see the kids changing and growing up in a family context. When you see them as part of the whole family, then you get a richer experience of who they are, their family life, and a happy refresher of your friends (or relatives).
People love to watch the changes in family resemblance. “Gosh, he is getting more like his Dad (or Mom)!” or “She is starting to get her mother’s smile.” If you are parents, don’t deprive your friends and family of this wonderful experience to see your whole family.
And it is just as important, or even more so, for adoptive families, single parent families, or combined families from previous marriages. The single family photo serves as an integrating symbol for the children, and reinforces their feeling of belonging.
If Dad or Mom (or a grown son or daughter) is in the military and serving away from home, make sure you get a treasured picture of the whole family when the person serving is home on leave through the year. Close friends and family will be delighted and honored to receive that.
Don’t be self-effacing about putting yourself in the picture – you DO matter to your friends and extended family. They DO want to see you too. Don’t be lazy (or “too busy”) to brush your hair and get in the picture.
You expect your kids to do it, so go on, get in the picture too! Let you children feel that you are proud to be seen with them, and that it is important to you.
Not only will you get a picture for that holiday card that friends and family alike will enjoy and keep, you are making a treasured record for your grandchildren one day (right, I know you don’t even even want to think about that now – but one day you will be glad you put yourself in that picture).
Get one of your friends or neighbors to take a whole bunch of pictures and pick the best one. Send it out with joy and pride.
Remember mail early for the holidays! This time of year goes quicker than any other time.