My "why" - my grandmother: Pictures are meant for holding, to be up on walls for viewing, or in albums to flip through and enjoy. Why? Because my grandmother. If you are here, I hope you believe the same.

It was 1996. I was a senior in high school. It was track season. I loved track season. I am a runner, after all. Life was good. We had a track meet on Saturday. My parents were going into town to visit my grandmother, Mimi, in the hospital. My grandmother was young—only 65. My parents told me to go to my track meet and not to worry. We’d go visit her when she got out in a few days. So I ran, like I always did.

It was Monday. My friend Sandi dropped me off at home after track practice. My parents were sitting outside. I saw them, and I already knew. Everything changed right then and there in that instant. My grandmother was special to me. She is special.

My dad is an only child. When I was born, not only was I my parents’ first girl, I was Mimi’s first girl, too. Talk about loved! I was loved! She taught me everything. I can vividly replay so many of our conversations in my mind. I can still hear her voice. The way she answered the phone in that beautiful southern drawl. How she taught me so many “proper” ways to behave and act. “A proper lady should…”she would always say. I listened. I learned. I soaked it all in. I can iron, eat spaghetti, file my nails, and dress with the best of them because of her. Although, in all honesty, I don’t always do those things because my great-grandmother (her mom) taught me otherwise!

Mimi shared stories of her younger days. She shared old black and white pictures from her youth. My grandmother was beautiful! My grandmother is beautiful. I can still picture my favorite image, my grandparents together on the beach in Galveston. My grandfather was a hunk and had his beautiful lady on his arm. Love!! They had photographs of everything. They told their story with those images. Albums put together with love. Prints turned into art hanging on the walls. A life story told through family photographs and love.

When my grandmother was laid to rest, she had our family portrait clasped in her hands. Now you understand. This is why family photography matters. This is my story and why I do what I do with love and with my heart. What is your story? Let’s tell it together.

Life is an awfully big adventure …