I am delighted that my wonderful hubby agreed to write a post for me during the “A Family Full of Thankfulness” series. Thank you, Brad, for opening up to us and sharing something you are thankful for.
I enjoy pictures, looking at pictures, taking pictures. Pictures can be serious, they can be sad, they can be funny, they can be posed or they can capture a random moment. They can be just because or they can mark an extraordinary occasion. I love the stories they tell. The saying goes that a picture is worth a 1,000 words. It’s not about the pictures. It’s about the stories and it’s the stories and storytellers I’m thankful for.
My wife loves to tell stories. Her whole family loves to tell stories. They tell stories about car trips to Florida when she was a kid. They tell stories about hooking grandpa with a fish hook or about dad howling in pain after being bitten on the finger by a crab. There are stories about cousins-in-law, stories about tying up a cousin while he was sleeping and dousing him in perfume, and stories about a Puerto Rican festival in Cabrini-Green. Through all of these stories that are regularly relived I have been able to understand her and her family in a way that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Yes, I will complain when I hear the story about her not being able to find her car for 3 hours in downtown Chicago for the 8th time (retold this weekend), how her mom tried to open the door of the wrong rental car in California, driving on the sidewalk in Florida, Big Bertha pillow fights, or belching on the porch, but I secretly appreciate the retellings.
My wife is an amazing storyteller. I am anything but. My wife would say I tell stories using “just the facts”, which is true, but my stories lack…detail. My stories are the notes. Of the cliff-notes of my wife’s tellings. Over the past few years I’ve picked up a few things while reading stories to our boys. I’ve become better at showing excitement and using inflection so I can read a story and make it fun to hear. But my story repertoire is still small. There are a few I enjoy telling and that I tell reasonably well; how my wife and I met, our trip to the top of Haleakala Crater in the dark on our honeymoon, or freezing at a football game. But honestly, my wife tells them better.
Someday I will be a good story teller. Someday I will be able to pass down stories to our children about my childhood, their aunts and uncles, and someday I’ll be able to tell their children stories about them.
Stories are about families and friends. Stories are to remember. We often try to use pictures for this. My wife and I take over 5,000 pictures each year, maybe 10,000 this year. Many won’t ever be seen again and most won’t be looked at for a year or more. If it’s worth remembering, there’s probably a story to go with it. And that story matters more than the picture. Why else would we take the picture? The picture doesn’t tell the story. It signifies that a story exists and that story should be told.
Many times when my wife tells a story about her childhood I wish there were pictures to go along with them, but most of the time I’m glad there aren’t. It would ruin the imagery of the story in my mind. Maybe we should put the camera away and just tell the story.