Time flies - even when we feel like the days are dragging by.
I am always amazed at how quickly weeks become months, and months turn into years. If you don’t believe me, just look at your children. They are changing and growing up more every day. Change happens. We cannot stop it, but we can document it.
When Dad is in prison, pictures become even more important. Pictures of life on the outside, and of all of the moments he is missing help to bridge the gap between his world and yours. But Dad is not the only reason to take pictures. You are documenting your family journey. The activities your children participate in, the family gatherings, your traditions and your visits to see your husband are all important occasions that are contributing to the fabric of your family’s evolution.
When Ron first went to prison...
the only pictures he was getting were those we took in the visiting room. One day, as we sat around the small round table eating our vending machine derived lunch together, he said something that surprised me. “I wish I had a glimpse of the boys’ life outside of these gates.” In that moment, I realized I was not letting him see the joy of life on the outside.
Ron was missing out
The boys were playing, laughing, running through the grass, building dirt roads in the backyard, coloring pictures, reading books out loud, dressing up as super heroes, and doing so many other things every day. Ron was missing out. His very limited view of only seeing them in the prison visiting room, which was only a tiny slice of their lives, was leaving him in the dark and adding to the distance that prison caused in our family. I knew I had to do something to reduce the space between our two worlds.
Here are things you need to know to help them grow. Raising children who have a parent in prison can be a challenge. They are just like every other child their age. And they are very different from other children their age. Moreover, is important to recognize both of these facts.
I began taking pictures of normal family activities—meals, playing games, shopping. With this in mind, I tried to send Ron at least 5 pictures per week. These also thrilled Ron! Not only was he able to see life on the outside, he was able to talk to the boys about their “normal” daily lives. I was so happy when the distance between us was bridged. What a simple way to connect our lives!
Ron began to ask questions about the pictures and to build scrap books about our journey together. As the books filled up, he would send them home. The boys and I loved looking at the pictures of our lives. We were so touched by the care that Ron had taken to place each memory so lovingly in scrapbook.
As you journey through your life, take the time to take pictures and create scrapbooks. You can ask your husband to build the scrapbooks in prison; or send him copies and create the scrapbooks with your kids. These books of pictures will become cherished memories and a part of your family’s legacy. It also helps to keep you focused on the present to anticipate the future when your husband will be home.
I am rooting for you!