"One picture is worth a thousand words." I have heard this Fred R. Barnard quote hundreds of times and yet it never really sunk in until this weekend.
You see, the last couple of days I have been in St. Louis for the memorial service of my cousin who died of breast cancer. And of course anytime you get the family together out come the photos, as we all know.
And there were plenty of photos of my cousin and I together. She was only a few months younger than me so of course we spent a lot of time together, especially when we were younger. Whenever we got together there was always something going on, whether it be playing sports, making fun of my brother or inflicting physical pain on each other we always had fun.
But it wasn't until I saw the pictures that a lot of the old memories came back. There we were, not any older than four, posing for a photograph with my cousin holding that stupid red whifle ball bat that she used to beat me over the head with.
And then there were others of us older, posing together at a Cardinals baseball game. No longer holding the red bat, my cousin, who was such a big Cardinals fan she had a card at her memorial service signed by the entire team, had decided that using her fists to punch me if I made the slightest dig at her beloved Cardinals was the right move. Of course that accompanied her verbal jabs every time I mentioned my team, the Braves.
While the pictures brought back nice and painful memories, they also made me come up with a set of rules I hope all parents will obey. I mean, eventually your children are going to be taking care of you in your old age, so it might be in your best interest not to keep embarrassing photographs.
The first rule is never, ever, ever take a picture of your lovely child naked, especially in a bath with another child. It is not cute and if in the wrong hands can make your teen years a little more difficult than they already are. Besides, in today's day and age taking a picture of a naked child could get you into a lot of trouble.
Second, please consider you will be taking a picture of your child when you dress them that day. I mean I'm sure I liked the red and white western snap shirt I wore when I was four, but it was so ugly even a rodeo clown wouldn't put it on to get a bull's attention. Of course I was wearing it in just about every photo of me at that age. I wonder if the photographer may have bought me that shirt? Hmmm.
Third, catch your children doing fun things like playing on the swing, getting dirty in the sandbox or swinging a bat. However, maybe you should pass on taking a picture of a little girl cutting a little boy's hair while sitting in a cardboard box, not that I would know anything about that. And my family wonders why I hate having my picture taken.
But I think the most important rule of all is to take a lot of pictures. No matter how small or trivial take a picture and keep it because that one image, years later, might just conjure up a pleasant memory or bring a laugh at a time when one is needed.