If there is one thing I really regret about losing my Dad last year, it is the fact that we never had any group photographs we all took together as a family. The closest thing to a group photograph was the one my parents took on their wedding day while my mother was already pregnant with me. I had hoped that one day there would be an occasion that would have made that possible but it never happened. It didn’t happen for many reasons and the main reason was that my parents although still legally married, were separated for over 30 years.
In spite of separation, my parents still spoke regularly and were best friends even still in love with each other. Most of the time they discussed the most important achievements in their lives which were "their children". They discussed their hopes, their plans and their fears. They learned how to leverage on each other’s strengths with each child to pass their messages across.
The respect and love they had for each other had grown over time as they both realized that they had to continue working together as a team for our sake. We were their most important accomplishment together. Our lives were made better by this team and sometimes I feel that they actually accomplished more for us when separated than when they were together.
I was having a discussion with my wife earlier about what sustains love in the long term and after our discussion I realized that it is not really about what we do for each other but what we do together that matters the most. Fathers cannot be fathers without mothers and vice versa. Husbands can also not become husbands without their wives. Children can also not "be" without parents, siblings also.
What we do together as a family matters more than anything else we do for each other. They are what memories are made of and memories are the building blocks of love. What a father does "with a child" may be remembered more than what a father did "for a child", same with mothers as well. Blood or marriage is just the beginning; acts of love and kindness together with memories make up the rest of our lives together.
Human memory is a funny thing, sometimes you don't remember much until something triggers your memory. Pictures are snapshots of our memories and they serve as reminders when we have long forgotten why we love those who are dear and close to us. They remind us of what we did together more than what we did for each other. We make memories together daily and some moments are worth remembering forever.
Do something special today with your loved ones and remember to take a picture of it because long after both of you are gone they will serve as memories for the unborn about what you did together before they existed. To show that they are a continuation of a family bound by love and to remind them to keep that love alive.
Once in a while remember one or two things I did with my father but the only picture I remember that I ever took alone with him was on my graduation day….
…..a picture is worth a million memories.