Prom photography. Senior photos. At times parents have asked me if this is all really necessary. We didn’t have these photos when we were kids, after all.
If you’re debating this question, I offer a column I wrote for the Sullivan County Democrat recently, upon my own Sullivan County teenager’s prom, and the discussions I had with parents who hired me to take their children’s prom photos!
The prom photos flooded social media this past weekend — some taken by me, others by the teens’ own parents.
Quickly, I realized that there were faces that I didn’t recognize, and I had to wait until my teen returned home from the big dance to help me make sense of them all.
I’ll repeat this for the necessary emphasis: My own teen has reached a point where I was home at night waiting for them to return from the prom.
I, in turn, have reached that point in a parent’s life where they sit at home waiting wondering how the baby who just yesterday they were cradling in their arms is wearing a fancy dress and holding the hand of a boy in a suit … at their prom.
But it was in reviewing the sea of prom photos with said teen that the passing of time took its strongest hold.
Strange face after strange face was revealed to be not a stranger at all but the face belonging to children I’ve known for a decade and a half or more.
Tiny soccer players and backyard birthday party revelers who I’ve watched grow have been rendered nearly unrecognizable by time.
This is, of course, as it should be.
Kids are born. Kids grow. Kids cease to be kids and the toddlers who toddled into preschool emerge from high school ready to take on the world and make their mark.
This is what we hope for them and what we as a community depend on. Each progressive generation is our own greatest hope for the future. They’re our future thinkers, builders, and doers.
They’re the reason we get up in the morning now and the reason we’ll be able to keep on getting up 10, 20, 30 years into the future.
And one day we’ll have those photos to look back on and marvel, remembering when they were just little babies who thought they were full grown.