Saturday, May 14, 2011

And Then I Spilled the Milk

or, "What pictures don't tell us"

My daughter's 6th birthday was about a week ago; my father's (her Papa) turned 65 two days later.  We celebrated family-style with her grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins.  Camera ready, she and her Papa blew out the candles for a picture-perfect moment.

And then I knocked over a glass, onto my sister and everything on her lap.

After the mess was cleaned up and everyone was happily devouring chocolate cake, it made me think:  What are the stories that pictures don't tell us?  Are there tears following the ripping open of gifts, screaming children fighting over the candies, parents grumbling about the mess?

In a word, yes.

We don't really capture those moments, though, do we?  I suppose it's because we want the happy ones, but do they tell the true story?  Unlikely.  Then again, who would want to sit with their grandchildren, recalling the fights at the dinner table? 

I am lucky.  I have more happy memories than not.  Maybe that's why I have so many photos.  Maybe that's why many of us take so many - we want to freeze those moments when life is good.  It feels good to look back at those pictures, to share them with family and friends.  Life has its fair share of sadness and unhappy instances (we have only to look at the latest news story for them); maybe that's why we tend toward smiles in portraits. 

Later, we want to remember laughter and love, accomplishments and adventures.

I know I do.

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