Picture Perfect

I just wanted a pic. Just one, nice, professional family photo. Really, is that so much to ask?

No, no it is not and yet yes, yes it is. My innocent, teeny-tiny request for a full-family photo shoot turned out to be SUCH A THING.

“Why? Why do we have to do pictures?” No. 2 griped when I told her my plan. “They take so long.”

“You know, we haven’t done them in a really long time and who knows when we’ll all be together again. I’d like to have a real, professional photo of us and not just a selfie under the Christmas tree.”

No. 2 sighed long and hard. “FINE.”

She has a long storied history of being an unwilling model. To wit:

See? Such a diva.

At the time I captured this moment for the family archives, I was so angry and frustrated at the lack of cooperation when all I wanted was a pic of my three beautiful children.

Now, the photo makes me laugh because this is real. This is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth … unlike what you see on Instagram.

In these times when everyone is so spit-shined and perfect on social media when we all know darn well that isn’t reality, I love this absolutely unfiltered, unpolished moment. It’s amusing because you can see all their personalities right there: the one who needs constant, preferably negative, attention, the one who tries to smoothe things over and the independent one who doesn’t want to be there and is looking to make a break for it. I look at this pic and I feel proud — of myself that I made it to the other side. That I survived childhood. THEIR childhood. So much drama and angst and heartache and spendiness. Parenthood, aaaaaaaghh! AmIright? I am a survivor, dammit. And as such, if I want family photos every five years, then I shall have them. 

When I was a kid, my mom ordered an annual visit to the Olan Mills studio, with its pull-down backdrops of fake forests or plain, blue-gray nothingness. We all look very stiff and uncomfortable with forced smiles and mannequin hands. I prefer more relaxed, casual memories. When the kids were younger and they accepted that I was truly the boss of them, it was a lot easier to come by such portraits.

This go round, aside from the one surly attitude, orchestrating was a flat-out nightmare. If getting a family pic on the calendar was an Olympic event, the difficulty level of my task would easily have been an 11. One kid, sniff, now lives in another state, another works random days and times and yet another always manages to have basketball practice at the most inconvenient of times, which we find out about an hour before it’s to happen. My first scheduling attempt was brutally torpedoed by Walgreens’ work schedule, so was the second. But No. 2 did ask to have her birthday off — three days before Christmas — so ding, ding, ding! We had a winner! Yes, I tried to do all this in the midst of the holidays. I am amazing. And a glutton for punishment. 

Next all we needed to worry about was dealing with No. 2’s special “smile,” the one she puts on only for posed photos. It’s very big and toothy and comes across like she cut the worst fart of her life and cannot wait for the rest of us to catch a whiff.Actually, no, that’s not true: the biggest hurdle of all is a final photo that I am happy with and in which I have as few chins as possible. Bet you’re starting to understand why this happens so rarely.

Whatever. I won. I got my prized photo, which is pretty darn amazing, fart-y smile and double chin — and all five of us together.

Photo by James S. Wood, who is quite possibly the most patient photographer in all the land. http://www.jswoodphotography.com

2 thoughts on “Picture Perfect

  1. Awwww! I love that photo and all your beautiful smiles!
    Happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hard fought. LOL. Happy New Year!!! ❤ ❤ ❤


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