Thursday, November 20, 2014

Smile or you die!

What is it about scheduling family pictures that makes the Universe want to open up the gates of Hades and explode every horrible thing all in one day?

I have a handful of days in a year where I reserve the right for my family to look put together. On every other day of the year they can wear hole-y jeans, socks that don't match, ratty t-shirts with slogans or video game characters on them that drive me bonkers, the same damn hoodie they wear every day of their life and their hair looking like they actually TRIED to make it look as terrible as possible.

I get Christmas, Thanksgiving, a few key family get-togethers, possibly my birthday and yes, family pictures. Those are the days where I get a say. Those are the days when I would like my kids to NOT look like street children and instead look like we can afford to bathe and clothe them.
You know how it goes. You try NOT to be a crazy person and overly coordinate by making everyone wear the same color, but you just can't help yourself. You at LEAST want everyone to coordinate. Which means you've got to go shopping. You've got to take inventory of all the clothes in all the closets and consider all the options: Is there ANYTHING in anyone's closet that's picture worthy or do I have to buy EVERYTHING? Does everyone have pants that aren't high-waters or threadbare on the knees? What if the photographer has us sit? Will the camera see the socks? What color should the socks be? Do we have that color socks? Should I buy all the boys nice shoes instead of sneakers when they will probably never wear their nice shoes ever again? What will the boys wear? What will the girls wear? Will they be so mad about the collared shirts I'm making them wear that they won't smile in the picture? Dear sweet baby Jesus, they better smile...

Once you get everything in place and all the outfits picked out, you get to the day of the pictures. So many photographers are booked on weekends that you often can't get anything other than a school day. So then you have to consider all those options: Do we take the kids out of school? How early? What will they miss at school? Do I let them eat before or after we get the clean clothes on? Who needs to bathe? What if they spill something or rip a hole in something or trip and fall into the mud on the way? If I find gum, candy, soda, food of any kind, paint, pen, stickers or anything that might alter the picture clothes in anyone's hands while they're wearing their picture clothes, I might actually chop off one of their limbs.
I experience so much anxiety on the way TO the photo shoot worrying that someone's hair/face/clothing will be messed up, that I've actually considered making everyone travel in their underwear and just getting dressed RIGHT before the camera clicks!
Inevitably, someone wore the clothes they were supposed to save for picture day and something's dirty, or someone spills something, or someone takes too long to fix their hair, or the teacher doesn't get them out of class in time or SOMETHING happens. Actually EVERYTHING happens on picture day. Or someone's mad about what they're supposed to wear and insists on coming downstairs in a non-approved outfit or insists that the pants/shirt/sweater I bought does not fit. Everything goes wrong and I'm a nervous wreck thanking my husband profusely for putting up with me and enforcing all of my ridiculous standards with the kids when we're already running late and HE HATES to be late.
God bless that man. I can hear him dolling out orders, "Tuck in your shirt. Did your mom say you could wear that? Are you sure? How does she want you to wear the sleeves? Are those the ONLY socks you have? Did you check the dryer? Go clean your face." as I furiously try to get my make up on in the bathroom, with the fan on me because my armpits are already sweating because I can see the time ticking away and I'm horrified that we're running so late that the sun will set before we can get the pictures and ALL THIS HORROR WILL BE FOR NOTHING. Thank God for wine at 3 o'clock in the afternoon on family picture day.
FYI - You've got to make sure everyone brushes their teeth THE RIGHT WAY before leaving the house too. This year, I actually used my fingernail to scrape yellow gunk off of my 7-year-old's front teeth in the car on the way to the photo shoot. And I'm not even kidding. My husband was gagging trying to keep his focus on the road.

Then the hair. THE. HAIR. For the love of all that is good in the world, on this one day, can you please, Please, PLEASE let me fix your hair so you look like a presentable young man or lady? (Don't EVEN get me started on the total botch job of a haircut our 13-year-old was given the night before.) And DO NOT give your brother noogies in the car and mess it up. In fact, don't touch each other at all. Don't even speak to each other. Or me. JUST. DON'T. EVEN. Just be.
In fact, until that photographer clicks that last click and says we're done, all you do is be still, don't mess anything up and SMILE, OR YOU DIE. Because this is my ONE DAY.
And this year wasn't even that bad and it was still crazy. But this year everyone smiled when they were supposed to smile, walked when I told them to stop running lest they trip and fall in the dirt. And I think we got some nice pics! By the looks of it, it actually looks like everyone gets along and LIKES each other!

After that last picture was snapped, Corrinne asked, "Can we run now?" and Alec asked, "Can I frolic now?" Yes, yes you can.

Thank you to my sweet friend, Sheena, from Sheena Coberley Photography for her patience, light-hearted personality, and great photography skills for capturing some perfect pictures for us!


Sheena said...

I LOVE this post first of all because I was semi involved in it, secondly because it's totally NORMAL for all this to happen because getting pictures taken is always chaos for everyone and if they tell you differently I am convinced they must be lying! Your family looked gorgeous and behaved wonderfully! I know how it is to be on that side of the camera, stressed to the max, tense and worried about everyone's smiles etc! Love you girl!

Wilkens said...

I never realized how tall your husband is! Cute pictures.


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