A guest post from Marie.
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Most people who see pictures of me assume I like to take pictures. Although I can churn out a few decent pictures, in most of my pictures I look sleepy or hungry. However, every picture my father took of me always turned out perfectly. He always knew how to get me to smile. My dad was constantly taking pictures of my brother and me during our childhood. While we grumbled through posing for these pictures, my father always managed to capture the love and admiration that we had for each other. He also managed to create memories for us that we would learn to appreciate years later.
I used to think my father’s picture taking was a nuisance. I never quite understood why he left the need to always snap a picture. My dad had about five cameras and carried them with him everywhere. He always had a story to tell through his pictures. In the days before digital cameras, he would turn in rolls of film to be developed and we wondered what they would reveal. Not only did my dad love taking pictures, he loved being in them too. Though he rarely smiled, he was always camera ready unlike my camera-shy mother. It became a running joke in my family. Living in NYC, we never knew what we would see and my father had no problem asking a stranger to take a picture. He was charming enough to get people to smile and look comfortable.
During my teen and early adult years, I became frustrated with taking pictures and rejected any opportunity to take a picture with my family, outside of holidays. When I had my first son, I slowly became a paparazzo. I snapped pictures of every little milestone. I didn’t want to miss a thing. I began to understand why my father enjoyed taking our pictures so much! Of course, my dad still took more pictures of his cherished grandson than I did. Five years ago, my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It pained us to put him in a nursing home, but caring for him was too hard on my mother. I never took pictures of my father while he was in the nursing home. I did not want any pictures reminding me of his new residence. It’s a decision I still regret. I allowed my negative feelings to overtake the one thing that brought my father so much joy. When my father passed away two months ago, we searched through his stacks of pictures to create a slide show. We had so many pictures to choose from that we had to laugh. The best part was finding the one picture of my dad smiling! We also had an opportunity to look back on all the fun we had growing up. The years go by so quickly and the one way to save those precious moments is through pictures. The other day my toddler got hold of my smart phone and was using the camera. I chuckled when I heard him say, “Cheese!” I know somewhere my dad was smiling too.
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Marie Roker-Jones is a military wife and mom of two boys. She helps moms of boys navigate the challenges of raising boys from diapers to dating. She hopes to leave a legacy of compassionate, respectful and responsible men. Marie is a graduate of Fordham University and is an Intrinsic Health and Wellness Coach. Marie’s website, Raising Great Men, is a wonderful resource with news and information available for families! Learn more about Marie’s great work and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. The Raising Great Men™ radio show is on Thursdays at 9:00pm EST. Raising Great Men is real talk about raising boys to become men of character, inspiring and preparing them to change the world. The show is the place to have honest discussions about the well being of boys.
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