Thursday, December 8, 2016




Care to guess what that number represents? Oh, play along. Try. Guess. Don’t read on until you guess.

That’s the number of pictures that are currently on one of my computers. And that’s not all of them. Oh no. There are more.

You see, when you marry a Bland, you get pictures. The Blands take pictures. In fact, the Blands take entire vacations just to take pictures.

I married a Bland.

When Danae and I were dating, Danae stopped me from proposing to her more than once. She told me, ‘We can’t get engaged yet. We still don’t have enough pictures together.’

Has a man ever been told that before? I wager not.

So less than a month later, I bought her a camera for Christmas. Her family thought that a camera was a pretty serious Christmas gift. They had no idea. Danae knew. She understood. And we started taking pictures.

And she hasn’t stopped.

I told her we should elope. Sort of. Not really. I said, ‘You know, we should mail airline tickets to all four of our parents for some destination in the Caribbean. Then get married there. The family we still be a part of it. It will be less stress. It will be cheaper. And it will be awesome.’

‘No. I want wedding pictures.’

I wanted to get married right away. Like March. She wanted to get married seven months later, in October. So we compromised. We got married in October. ‘I want fall leaves in my wedding pictures.’

And on and on it goes. There are so many more examples I could give.

We go nowhere without cameras. Pleural.

We base cell phone decisions on cameras.

We have memory cards of varying capacity, cameras bags of varying sizes and colors and ages, lenses of varying length and quality, straps and cords and covers and filters and lions and tigers and bears and partridges in pear trees. If not, we at least have pictures of them.

Vacations are based on what the pictures will look like. Family pictures. Pictures of children. Pictures of animals. Pictures of scenery. If there was no picture, it never happened.

Oh, how I wish I still lived in the day of film. Then at least we could be on a budget. But no, we have digital. It never needs to end. Just buy another hard drive. You can take all you want. They’re free. You can take 300 of the same picture. They’re free. Don’t worry, we can just delete them later. That never happens.

I gave Danae so much grief over this.

‘Why are you taking that picture? Is that really anything we are ever going to frame? Is that really anything we will ever want to look at again? Is that really a picture nobody has ever taken before?’ ‘Are you so busy taking pictures you can’t look up and enjoy and remember the moment?’ ‘Just take it already! The kids will never all look at the same time!’

Our entire life is documented in film. Nothing has gone uncaptured.

Then Danae got sick and went to America with a diagnosis of something not being right in her head.

While she was gone, the kids and I looked at pictures. All of them. Almost. Hundreds each day.

We relived our last several family vacations. They learned about what Mommy and Daddy were like before kids. They saw the world. They saw Young Mommy and Young Daddy. They saw themselves. They remembered some old things. They learned some new things. They smiled. They laughed. They never looked away.

I don’t know the future. I don’t know which one of the six of us will leave the family first. And I don’t want to know yet, either. I secretly hope it’s me and I hope it’s a long, long time from now. But I know there will be no forgetting. There will be no struggling to conjure a memory. And I know there will be lots of laughing and smiling and reminiscing.

I will try my best to never give Danae grief again about her compulsion to take inordinate numbers of pictures.

We already have a lot of pictures.

But it is not nearly enough. We need a lifetime more.


  1. Seriously, the first half of this post had me laughing out loud. L-O-L! Wow, thank you for sharing this with everyone. What a scary time. I'm so glad she's back. Continued prayers, Storie from Keene, TX.

  2. This is beautiful. SO glad you're back together again.
    Did I tell you that I'm journalling again because of you? Yep. Good stuff. Thank you for inspiring me.