A picture that’s worth a thousand words may never tell the entire story. My hope is that it will at least spark a conversation or share insight into another world of existence.

I look at the picture and it gives me hope that my family will remain close. History and reality somewhat says otherwise. There are forces that break people apart daily and even with technological advances, communication is less clear and often evasive.

I smile when I see this picture. My family looks content. My grandmother, the second from the left, wears more of a smirk than a smile. That pretty much does it for her giving you a full smile. We are familiar with her expression. My very stylish great-aunt on the far right postures as if she just arrived from off of the runway. All of this brings great joy and a sentiment of beginnings.

My large, more extended family should take a moment and really look at this picture. We should remember that this is the goal when we engage one another. It seems as if each individual looks at themselves and personal circumstances instead of looking at the health of the whole. Does it bring great happiness to consider just the select instead of embracing the collective? I believe this picture suggests, otherwise.

In the final week of preparation for my grandmother’s 100th birthday celebration and actual day of recognition, we will encounter again the collective of family and friends. What will be on everyone’s minds? I wonder. I will be running around coordinating the media coverage and footage for my documentary on this great occasion. All the while, I will keep in mind that family is there to focus on my grandmother and by default, my great-aunt, too. But I still think that there will still be a measure of individualism in the room. Those that secretly want the spotlight for themselves, all to themselves.

I’m planning on bringing the cameras to the beauty shop to record my grandmother’s hair appointment and capture that timeless essence of a woman preparing for the grand ball. At any age, it should still measure the same. I want to capture the joy of receiving family, the very first and only collective that truly matters. Stay true to the roots no matter where you’re from and no matter where you’re going.

Arm and arm, these bonds should not be broken. This picture is a powerful image of what our family SHOULD look like at any moment. I pray that we return to this one day. That’s all that really matters for a fulfilled life. I challenge you to ask any 90+ year old. I bet they will tell you the same.

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About mimihoward47

Graduate Student at Texas Southern University School of Communication Television/Film Producer, Director, Screenwriter Mother of three teenagers