I’ll just go ahead and admit defeat. It is really rather embarrassing and probably the real reason no one has received a Christmas card from our family this year: I failed to score the perfect Christmas picture.
I LOVE getting Christmas cards, especially the photo kind. I love watching my friends and their families grow-up, see their vacations, remark on how much so-and-so looks like her mother. I also love sending our own cards. . when I have just the right picture that captures all the different personalities of my family of seven.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. There were many, many, many fruitless attempts to get this coveted photo. One that even included a “short hike” that nearly cost me a friendship and my husband a divorce. (At that point, I was willing to save the friend and ditch the well-meaning but ill-prepared husband.)
Here is the beginning of the Christmas photo quest.
It started with a somewhat professional photographer: a very nice woman who is a full time nurse and a part time photographer. I got everyone dressed and shipped to the downtown location (timed to be right after naptime). Of course, I got myself dressed last and really didn’t consider the outfit I was wearing. (Note to self: get self ready first!)
In retrospect, the one decent family picture wasn’t so bad, but it was marred by the VERY UNFLATTERING PICTURES of ME that were included on the disk. I know that I have a good 30 pounds of post five children to get rid of but please humor me in my dementia that I really don’t look THAT BAD. (Note to photographers: ALWAYS MAKE SURE THE MAMA LOOKS THE BEST!) I’m only showing this picture so you can commiserate with me that if you saw THIS first it would cloud every other picture in the stack. Also, I’m hoping that this public humiliation will inspire me to get up at 5:30 in the morning for spin class.
One of my “mothers-of-multiples” friends didn’t like her pictures either and so we hatched the great plan that we would get together and PHOTOGRAPH each other’s families. How hard could that be?
After taking 20 pictures in the field right by our house, my husband (who usually has a great eye) talked us into walking over to the creek bed and getting some pictures. He had found this spot on a hike with the boys. Okay. . .I agreed without asking the prerequisite questions, the first being, “HOW FAR AWAY?” and all 12 of us started walking. . .and wallking and pushing tree limbs out of the way and walking. . .and tripping over rocks and walking. . .and yelling to children, “IF YOU STEP IN THAT MUD, YOUNG MAN!” till I finally yelled to husband-suddenly-turned-scout-leader, “WHERE THE HELL IS THIS CREEK BED?!” And, we stopped and shot another 100 pictures. And, with mom hot and the humidity close to crazy steamy and having the wrong shoes on and trying to apologize to the friends. . .none of those pictures seemed to capture anything.
Finally, on Christmas Eve after Mass I pleaded for one more opportunity. The troops were tired and hungry and “DO WE HAVE TOOS?” resounded. So here is the picture that I got.
Oh, they are a funny crew.
My last attempt was at the end of the Christmas day celebration at Grandma Lucy’s house after spending a joyous day with 31 relatives. As we were leaving, and ignoring the fact that my children were close to melt-down stage and the two year old was on day two of NO NAP. I decided to risk it.
The funny thing is that in not getting the “right” picture–I actually captured this moment in time for our family. I recently read a post where the writer also lamented not getting the “right” shot. She showed the photos where her twin girls were either hamming it up or goofing off or the pictures were “off” in someway. Then she posted the pictures where she “got” the shot. The girls were perfectly smiling and perfectly posed. . .and I perfectly loved the ones that were imperfect. Those made me smile.
And, so maybe that should be my quest. . .not the pictures that are perfect, but the ones that make me smile.