Through the years when I have given pictures of my kids to people I write something on the back; a dedication of sorts. If I am really pressed for time I at a minimum write the date of the event of the picture and the pictured person's name on the back. Does everyone do this? I don't know. Why do I do this? I have a few reasons.
First, because that's what my momma taught me. She always had me sign the back of the picture I was giving to grandparents or aunts etc. I never asked why. Being the obedient (stop laughing!) child that I was I simply did as I was told.
Second, I have seen this on odd pictures I have come across over the years when sorting through things after my mother and grandmother passed away. The picture may say 'To my favorite Aunt from cookie' with the date or at least a year on it and then we are able to figure out who the baby is.
Third, because the pictures that have been passed down to me by previous generations that don't have anything on the back to indicate the who, why, where, or what of the picture has sometimes been unidentifiable by us who are still here trying to figure out what this is a picture of.
So, in conclusion, at a minimum I write the name and date on the back.
Now that you know all that, I can tell you this story.
As my boys are now both high school graduates and I theoretically adult men beginning their individual paths in this world, I thought it was the appropriate time for them to dedicate the pictures themselves. They are big boys and as evidenced by the diplomas they were given know who to choose words and string them together coherently and write them all by themselves. Well, let me tell you something. You would have thought that I asked for a 57 page MLA-style thesis. I pulled out the pictures with a week advance notice and told him who they were for. Nothing outrageous here just grandparents, godparents and aunt and uncle. After reminding him and being asked what to write for the umpteenth time. I said just at least put 'For my grandparents, love 17' with the date. Don't make this harder than it is, it's very simple.
I still have 2 pictures that were not handed out at our graduation lunch celebration this past weekend because he couldn't bring himself to even write his name on them. But I did notice that he gave some wallet size photos to a couple of people. So, I asked last night who he gave pictures to on Saturday. He told me 3 friends of mine. Granted, if they are friends of mine they are friends of his but what I mean is he gave pictures to 3 of my girlfriends. So, I continued to probe and was told that he thought it was nice to give them something because they were a big part of his life and a big reason he's the man he is. Yes, I got teary-eyed. But I'm still his mom so I asked if he just randomly handed them the photo and he told me that he wrote something on the back of each one. He tells me it was 'just a little thing so they would know how important they are'. And here I was all upset because the boy can't write to my godparents with love, 17. It seems the boy can write when he wants. I have no idea what he wrote on the photo for my 3 girlfriends but I know that they are probably just as touched as I am knowing that he felt they were a significant part of his life that he wanted to acknowledge them in that way.
I guess I will put the date and his name on the other 2 and hand them out at the next family gathering because really those are from me not him.