We’re Choosing to Leave Pictures Each Day

Princess Di was the most photographed woman in the world. And among the most photogenic. After her death the market was flooded with Diana photographs, Diana magazines, Diana books.

One group of photographs in particular grabbed my attention. They are in a book with a white background and a black-and-white photo of Princess Di centered on the cover. Inside, the pictures are arranged chronologically. They begin with a barefoot Diana on a blanket on her first birthday. They end with a coffin at Westminster Abbey. In between are the pictures that tell the story of her life. A lot of them are close-ups. Most of them could have made the cover of any fashion magazine in the world. All of them are beautiful.

But I doubt they are the ones she would have chosen, not if she could choose them now. Now that she’s gone, I think she would rather not be remembered for how photogenic she was, how stunning she looked in designer hats, or how exquisitely she graced the restaurants of the French Riviera. I think she would want to be remembered by other pictures, pictures that revealed other things about her. Pictures that would leave behind positive messages in the lives of those she loved. Pictures that would bless the lives of her sons.

Diana left behind a lot of pictures of her and her two boys, William, the future king of England, and Harry, the younger prince.

In one picture her arms are wrapped around young Harry as William stands behind her, wrapping his arms around her. In another the boys are younger, propped on a piano bench, pounding away at the keys, with Diana standing behind them, smiling. In one she is with them the first day of school, they in their uniforms, she was on the steps beside them. It seems like any other first-day-of-school photograph. Except boys in the royal families don’t go to school. School comes to them. In the form of private lessons, personal tutors. But Diana thought an important part of their education was to learn what life was like outside the palace walls, so she broke a time-honored tradition and sent the boys to school.

What a memory for two boys who now have nothing but memories of their mother.

Diana was forthright about her failures, but motherhood wasn’t one of them. The thing in her life she felt most proud of was being a mom. When the boys came home from school, she dropped everything. Everything else, everyone else had to wait. Even heads of state. “I want to bring them up with security,” Diana once said. “I hug my children to death and get in bed with them at night. I always feed them love and affection; it’s so important.”

“When she was with her boys,” one reporter commented, “her delight was not only palpable but irresistible.”

Of all the images of Diana that have burned into the public memory, few are more incandescent than one from Toronto several years ago. As Harry and William approach, their mother rushes to meet them, her body canted forward, her arms flung wide, with a smile that would light the darkest heart.

Of all the pictures she left behind, I think that is the one she would most want remembered. The one with the arms that say “I’ve missed you so much.” With the eyes that sparkle and the smile that says a thousand “I love you’s.”

What greater picture of blessing could a mother give to her children? A picture that says, “You are the delight of my life.” A picture that captures a CHOICE to bring life and light to a child, that we can choose as well.

Click here to read my Comments Policy

As you know, Web 2.0 is all about the conversation. But without a few simple ground rules, that conversation can turn into a shouting match that discourages others from entering into the fray.

So here is my comments policy. By posting on my blog, you agree to the following:

  1. You may comment without registering. You can log-in via IntenseDebate, OpenID, Twitter, Facebook—or not at all. It’s up to you.
  2. You may post anonymously. I don’t recommend this, but you may do so if you wish. I may change this rule if it is abused.
  3. You may post follow-up questions. If you have a question, chances are you are not alone. Others are likely thinking similarly. Therefore, I would rather receive your comments on my blog than via email. It is a better use of my time to address everyone at once rather than answer several similar emails.
  4. You may disagree with me. I welcome debate. However, I ask that if you disagree with me—or anyone else, for that matter—do so in a way that is respectful. In my opinion, there is way too much shouting in the public square to tolerate it here.
  5. I reserve the right to delete your comments. This is my blog. I don’t have an obligation to publish your comments. The First Amendment gives you the right to express your opinions on your blog not mine. Specifically, I will delete your comments if you post something that is, in my sole opinion, (a) snarky; (b) off-topic; (c) libelous, defamatory, abusive, harassing, threatening, profane, pornographic, offensive, false, misleading, or which otherwise violates or encourages others to violate my sense of decorum and civility or any law, including intellectual property laws; or (d) “spam,” i.e., an attempt to advertise, solicit, or otherwise promote goods and services. You may, however, post a link to your site or your most recent blog post.
  6. You retain ownership of your comments. I do not own them and I expressly disclaim any and all liability that may result from them. By commenting on my site, you agree that you retain all ownership rights in what you post here and that you will relieve me from any and all liability that may result from those postings.
  7. You grant me a license to post your comments.This license is worldwide, irrevocable, non-exclusive, and royalty-free. You grant me the right to store, use, transmit, display, publish, reproduce, and distribute your comments in any format, including but not limited to a blog, in a book, a video, or presentation.
In short, my goal is to host interesting conversations with caring, honest, and respectful people. I believe this simple comments policy will facilitate this.