I’ve seen it posted a million times on social media, “Get in the pictures, Moms!” or “Dads take the pictures of Mom with babies!”

I get the idea and heart behind the message, yet I can’t help but think of my mom, the person behind the lens in all of the pictures. All the pictures I was in alone or asleep, never with her. I often wonder how much guilt this new challenge would have brought her.

I was raised by a single mom. There wasn’t a family member or husband there to snap the quick picture of the two of us together.

It was solely her.

She didn’t have someone to hand the camera or cell phone to quickly and she didn’t have anyone to relive her during my birthday parties or big events so that some else could capture us having a special moment.

I have to tell you something Moms, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t really matter who is in the picture, what matters is who is behind the camera lens.

In every picture of me standing alone or asleep or doing something exciting for the first time, I get to see it through my moms eyes. I get to see the moments that she wanted to freeze in time of me. I get to see the times that she thought were so special that she never wanted to forget it.

I get to see all the moments where my mom was looking at me and see myself how she saw me.

Yes, I love the pictures of me with my mom especially now that she is gone, they are a treasure. But it’s the moments where I’m alone, or riding my bike for the first time and the picture is so blurry because she’s jumping up and down cheering for me on the other side of the lens that means the most.

So, instead of having someone always take the picture, just get out there and take the dang picture yourself. Let your child see themselves how you saw them.

*This piece was originally published on grieftohope.blogspot.com

Nikki Pennington

Nikki is a stay at home mom to three, high spirited boys. Three years ago she became a motherless daughter after losing her own mom to terminal brain cancer. When she is not playing the role of referee for the boys, she spends her days trying to encourage and inspire others that are on the grief journey. Read more from Nikki on her blog: http://www.grieftohope.blogspot.com/