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On the 4th of July this year, we hosted a few close friends for a bonfire on the driveway. The high school nearby always has a huge display of fireworks which we can see from our street. As we settled in for the show to begin, my middle son climbed up into my lap, swaddled in his favorite pepperoni pizza blanket (like a mermaid tail, but a slice of pizza).

“Let me take your picture,” my friend said to me quietly, extending her hand out to take my phone.

“Oh, no . . . no, that’s okay,” I reasoned back, knowing full well I would hate whatever would be exposed on the screen when handed back to me.

But she insisted.

She knew I was self-conscious and disliked having my photo taken, but she often preached to me the value of a photograph. She knew every picture has meaning, emotion, and memory tied to it. And as a fellow woman, luckily she also understood the importance of eliminating certain insecurities while framing the shot.

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When I scroll past that photo on my phone, I’m kindly reminded of the moment. A child seeking my embrace, a friend offering to capture it. I see how much my son and I look alike, in our matching glasses. I remember how impactful it was to be truly noticed by my friend.

Another evening this summer, our family went to a local beach for an hour to relax by exploring the water and building mud castles. The kids had been asking for weeks, and although I’m typically spontaneous-adverse, the weather was right and it was time.
 
No hot girl summer here, but I did wear my swimsuit knowing full well I’d be the one to get into the water with the kids. Bouncing up and down with the baby in the water, he let out elated giggles and waved his arms up and down to make splashes of his own. Naturally, the two older kids swarmed us and shouted, “Look! Look at my karate!” They spun in circles, spraying droplets everywhere, smiles plastered to their faces.

“This would be a really cute picture,” I thought to myself.

Sure, my head was soaked with lake water thanks to our 4-year-old “washing” mommy’s hair. There was sand everywhere, so I was definitely not camera-ready by anyone’s standards.

But my boys were with me. I was surrounded by the little ones who make me a mom. And someday maybe I’d want to look at that picture and remember the feelings of that early evening, their smiles, the way they wanted to spend time all together.

RELATED: The Only Way to Freeze Time Is to Take the Picture—So I’ll Take as Many as I Can

I took pictures of the kids that day. Making sandcastles and digging in the mud. But none were taken of us. Those special moments will live on only in my memory.

There is no hiding the fact that women and mothers take the majority of the photos.

There are countless videos of women comparing their vacation pictures with his. She’s captured a stunning shot of the sunset fading into the ocean as he drinks his ice-cold beer. He took one photo of her napping in the hotel. These comparisons are often made in good humor, but in reality, when we let moments go unnoticed, core memories slip through our fingers.

Husbands and friends alike . . . take her picture. Take a good picture (and know what a good picture means to her). You have a camera right there in your back pocket. No need to be self-conscious, everyone has their phone out.

Take her dang picture and insist on it. Because someday she’ll want to look back on this very moment.

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Rachel Schuehle

Rachel resides in Minnesota with her family. Her three boys keep her busy and her house messy. Any snippets of free time she finds, she enjoys amateur gardening, easy puzzles, and listening to live music.

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