We sat in the studio ready for our first picture together as a family. My husband and I with the children entrusted to us.
The photographer puts my son by my side, while my daughter sits with her daddy.
I am by my hubby’s side and can feel his hand drawing me closer to him.
The camera goes click, click as the photographer tries to get a perfect shot of us.
We are all smiles as we look at the camera.
Our hands and bodies held close together and our smiles a true reflection of our hearts.
I am then taken back to my childhood with my parents and siblings.
I must have been 9 years old. It was a studio too. We dressed up the African way, white kaftans, while my mum, sister and I opted for a kaftan top and skirt.
I can still remember the soft feel of the fabric and the neat black embroidery on those kaftans.
We sat close to each other and stared straight into the camera. The camera clicked away until the photographer got a perfect shot.
Many years have passed, great changes have occurred and life has moved on. That picture still has its spot on the wall in my parent’s living room.
And each time I see it, I smile and I am reminded of our journey and how far we have come.
The good times, the bad times, the difficult times. We walked through it all and are still standing.
I drift back to reality as the photographer nods at us. Done!
My family’s portrait arrived some days into the new year and sits at ease on the wall in my living room.
I walk by it every single day and I catch a glimpse of those who have brought so much joy into my life.
I see the sparkle in my daughter’s eyes and I am reminded of her grand entrance into my world.
I look at my son’s smile and I am amazed at how much sunshine he has brought into our lives.
I stare hard at the man who opened his heart to love me and I am reminded of God’s unfailing love and mercies.
Do you know that family portraits give us a sneak peek into the stories of our lives?
Every person in the portrait has a story. These stories come from yesteryear. They are born from our families, our homes, our history and our journey.
Our portraits hold stories written from our struggles, failures and experiences.
Each chapter a light, a ray of hope, a victory and a part of who we have become today.
I stare hard at my family portrait often. I see my children’s faces and I am reminded of the chapters I am writing in my own story.
Many years will pass and my children will also get to stare at our portrait. I only hope they remember then the stories we have written through the years.
Every family’s portrait is unique.
Every family’s portrait has deep roots.
Every family’s portrait is a reminder of the stories we share and the stories we are writing daily.
Your family’s portrait is not my family’s portrait. And your family’s story is not my family’s story.
What binds us together is different from what binds yours together.
Our portraits are different and will tell their own unique story.
Yes, I will always stare at my family’s portrait, for therein I see bonds not broken and values never forsaken.
I am also reminded of the seeds I am planting daily and the legacy I want to leave behind.
I look at my children’s faces and I desire to become more, do more that I can give more.
I also wish to leave them with great memories and stories they will always remember.
I pray to grow old with the man I love and look back to see dreams that we accomplished.
I wish to hold my grandchildren and share in their own stories too.
I also hope that we all get to share a family portrait together sometime.
And yes, someday my children will get to stare hard at our family’s portrait.
They will see how far we have come; our victories, our losses, our fears, our faith and our unfailing trust in God.
I hope they also get to find faith and love in our stories and values to pass on to the next generation.
This portrait is alive and glaring on the wall in my living room.
It will be here for many years to come, generations after us may get to see it.
But this truth holds, that in this portrait lies values, lessons and stories for generations to come.
© 2018, Fijabi Ufuoma
Image Credit: Photo by J carter from Pexels