Yesterday, bright and early, tornado sirens went off in Auburn, Alabama. Uncommon for January, but there they were, blaring. I sent people to the basement. We were all still in pajamas and the reality that we might be there for a while began to sink in. So, on the off chance that the house was struck, I ran back upstairs for the “important stuff”. The first trip, I grabbed the basics–shoes and clothes for everyone, wallets, car keys, phone chargers, the cat. The second trip back upstairs I grabbed a ring of my mother’s, pictures of her and my dad, pictures of my girls, and, by request, eyeliner for a certain rock star who lives with me. And that was it. Faced with losing my house, I grabbed the basics and then the printed, framed pictures of people I loved. Furniture and clothes can be replaced, but my mother and father are no longer with us and their pictures mean the world to me.
Later that day during a break from the weather drama, I got to take pictures of one of my dearest friends. She’s been undergoing a personal transformation. Always lovely, she is looking better than ever and it seemed like a great time to take pictures. We had a wonderful time and I was impressed by the bravery and self confidence of this fantastic wife and mother. I hate to have my picture taken, I really, really do, so I’m always envious of people who are willing to step out in front of a lens. It takes courage, no doubt, but the result is an incredible gift for the family and friends who love you–for your children and their children. One day, when your children have children, they can point to a picture of you and say, “See? You get your sparkly eyes from your Grandmother.” But only if we have the courage to exist in pictures and to print our photos.
So be brave. Be like Kathy. Create a visual legacy for your family, then hang it in the basement to save them from running back and forth during tornados. They’ll thank you for it.