Be in the Picture

My sweet friend's mom died unexpectedly last weekend.

She sent me the text while I sat recovering in the hospital after delivering my fourth sweet baby... my jaw dropped as I read the text over and over, trying to fully process what I was reading.

We aren't old enough for our parents to be dying.

That thought rolled through my mind on repeat as I struggled to find the right way to reply... finally landing on, "I am so sorry."

Over the next few days, our correspondence was shotty at best... given our current life-changing circumstances, it was no surprise. But in her messages she included a few sweet pictures of herself with her mom when she was a baby. One showed her mother, crashed on the couch, mouth wide open with a tiny baby splayed across her chest in sheer exhaustion. Another, showed my toddling friend pulling on her mother's hair with delight as her mother gave the camera the ubiquitous annoyed mother look... you know the one... "can you believe what I put up with?"

Through it all, I could easily see her mother looked the part of frazzled mother to three little ones. Glamour shots these were not. Under-eye circles, frizzy hair, and spit-up laden clothing were a common theme. Yet, these pictures were beautiful and my friend expressed such gratitude for having them.

And... it made me think.

How often do I refuse to be in pictures because I haven't quite lost my postpartum baby pooch? Or because my hair is, per usual, a wild mess? Or maybe because my clothing isn't exactly on trend?

How often do I refuse to be in pictures because it would communicate my life wasn't always perfectly styled? That the pictures might imply that sometimes I didn't have it all together? That sometimes I wore yoga capris and my husband's tshirts with zero intention of exercising? That sometimes I was in desperate need of a shower and concealer?

But this is our real life. And my real life? It's beautiful.

Even with me in it.

So, in response to walking through a season of grief with a friend who lost her mom much too soon... please be in the picture. Even if you aren't the most photogenic and even if you might wince upon seeing it. You will, eventually, be grateful you agreed to be in the picture... and your children will be so grateful for the memory.


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