Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Love, Cherish, and Take Pictures

Last night, one of my friends on Instagram posted this picture:

She asked that we pray for a family who lost their three-year old, Ryan, tragically. The drawing is in memory of the little boy.  *this drawing can be found here*

I clicked on the link to the Instagram feed of Ryan's mother, Jacqui (@babyboybakery).  On Jacqui's feed were many, many photos of little Ryan and his parents - a family obviously very much in love with each other.  The most recent photo in her feed was of Ryan running through Disney-land.  His mother wrote that it was a milestone for him to be running past his stroller rather than riding in it.

The picture was posted Friday.  Ryan died Friday night.  He was hit by a truck while he innocently ran to get a frisbee that had landed in the road.  You can read the story here.

Tragic. Sad. Heart-breaking.

I never knew Ryan existed until after he no longer did…not on earth, anyway.  I will probably never meet his parents.  They obviously don't live the same kind of life I live nor do they even live on the same side of the country in which I live.  Opposites in many, many ways from the looks of it - except in how we love our children.  Without ever speaking or typing a word to me, Ryan's mom has reminded me of what is important and to cherish every moment with my children.


Ryan's mom posted picture after picture of her son finding joy and awe in the every day moments of his life.  He didn't have cancer or some life-threatening disease.  He was healthy and full of life.  She had no idea she would never see his fourth birthday.  Yet, she cherished every moment.  She cherished the times he ran, the times he spent snuggling with her and his daddy, the times he played and the times he just enjoyed a snack.

And she took pictures.  Pictures that are now treasures.  Pictures that will make her cry and cry, but will one day make her smile and, yes, laugh again.  Pictures in which she will remember her "everyday" angel.

I used to think it was a bit over-the-top to take pictures of the kids doing "nothing."  However, Ryan's "nothing" moments are everything now.  They are cherished moments.  They are moments his mother will relive over and over whenever she sees his face looking back at her from the screen or the frame.

There are thousands of mommy-photographers out there that will intimidate you with their expensive cameras, huge lenses, odd terminology and advice about the perfect picture.  Ignore them.  Get out your fifty-dollar camera you bought at Target or pull out your cell phone and start capturing moments.  Your child holding your hand, swinging on a swing, getting licked in the face by the dog, rolling down the grassy hill.  Capture those moments.  And don't forget to aim the camera at that gangly, awkward teenager.  They may make odd faces or grumble, but the moments with them are fleeting even faster.

Our children may live to become old men and old women.  However, our time with them is short.  In some cases, shorter than we could possibly imagine.  I have been reminded to make the most of my time with my children and capture even the mundane moments.  One day, they won't be mundane…they will be precious memories.

Pray for Jacqui and Dan as they grieve the sudden loss of the son they adored.  As you think of them, take a picture…or two or ten…of those you love and cherish.

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