good life by toni harris
Part of cultivating a good life is embracing the “everyday” photos of yourself.
While in college I found a love for scrapbooking. I think I wanted my future kids to understand where I had come from, maybe I wanted to remember these times myself, or perhaps I just loved pretty paper and shiny stickers. Whatever it was, it has yet to stop. And my family is forever grateful for it.
However, if you look back at my memories, my books first started with many photos of myself, but slowly — actually quite rapidly — pictures of myself start to disappear. After having kids and gaining a full-time job in the emergency room, I began to find less time to get ready. I hardly wore makeup as it was. I began to take more photos than ever before, but I was rarely in a picture. The few photos I was in, I would leave out because I thought to myself, “I look terrible.”
My oldest child, now almost five, asked me about a year ago why I wasn’t ever in any of the pictures. I told him because I am happy knowing that all of those smiles in the book are smiling at me. But this question got me thinking, so I started taking selfies and asking others, mostly strangers, to take a photo that included me. Even if I do not think it is the greatest photo of me, I add it to the book and feel better, knowing that my kids notice that I am present in our memories.
Now, looking back at the last year of projects, I see myself in photos. So much emotion is remembered along with the memories that I don’t even notice if I am wearing makeup or if I am having a bad hair day. The fact is that I am present in the memories that my family and I share together.
Toni is a member of our 2015 Creative Team. She lives in Louisiana with her husband Billy and two sons Daniel and Anthony.