I want to know that the portraits I take of the people that come into my life are leaving a mark on their world. I imagine these people and their future, when their children or grandchildren see their wedding day photographs for the first time. When these children see their grandparents, not just as grandparents, but as two people who have and had an enormous life together, for the first time. An enormous life of moments, accomplishments, things that happened, knowledge and experiences. Days of adventure that these children would not have been allowed to go on, but because of those days they had they are perfectly happy being in the comfort of their home with these children, keeping them safe. They would know that you, as their grandparents, did remarkable things and left your mark everywhere you went. They would learn that you left your mark on people, more than the ones that the four walls of their home hold.
After seeing these photographs your wrinkles would not just be wrinkles to them anymore. They would be laugh lines on your cheeks, because they knew that your laugh made others laugh with you. They would be stories amongst your hands, baring proof that you worked hard and you lifted up many people with them. They would show the distance you walked or ran to get where you wanted to go. They would show the miles you traveled on your feet to see the world, all the while knowing that during your travels you were coming home. These “wrinkles” would show them that you had stories to tell, that were true. They would show how great that you lived.
Yesterday Cory came home from work and as he attempted to walk up the stairs he was petting and being bombarded with the love from our two dogs. He finally reached the door to my home office, said, “Hello,” with a simple smile and laid down across the floor. Common to us, our dogs instantly circled around him to receive more petting. Foster wiggled from side to side without any control and Charlie’s tail knocked into Foster and then the wall repeatedly. Without any thought I got up and from my chair and laid down with them, resting my head onto his arm.
We talked for several minutes, while the dogs fought for our attention, all the while staring up at the ceiling. As we continuously laughed at Charlie and Foster, we took breaks to let each other know how our day was, what we got done that day and admit that we were sort of tired! Then, without hesitation, Cory says, “look at how many times you marked the ceiling when we were painting this room!” We had painted the spare bedroom together a few months prior and this was one of our first home projects together. This room was going to be my home office in the home that I just moved into with Cory. I bantered back to him that it was him who painted those and that I was not tall enough to do that, even though I remember standing on a stool, and being the one with the paint roller. As we laughed and teased each other on who’s fault we thought it was I said, “That’s okay, I was just leaving my mark on our home.”
I want to leave my mark on the world, little by little, and as small or as grand that I can. But first and foremost I want to leave my mark on my loved ones, and certainly the love of my life and our soon-to-be marriage. When you work at all of those and you continue to leave your mark within, you get better at it and then it can reach out to others. A quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald I once read said, “I want to know you moved and breathed in the same world with me.” I love this because not only do we all have a desire to be remembered, to leave our legacy to everyone we love and possibly beyond that. Within the unwritten lines of this quote they say, I do not just want to know that you existed. I want to feel you here with me. I want to exist together. That is what our laugh lines will show, our hands will hold, and our feet will impact decades from now. I want that for everyone as well. How will you leave your mark?