Yesterday we had our annual family pictures and so goes, with any “family picture day” we weren’t exactly having the best of days all around. From start to finish things were a little hairy. We made it through church and that’s pretty much all I could’ve asked for. We should’ve stopped there but instead…we pushed. We took the girls from store to store on the hunt for a new couch, mistake number 1. We didn’t consider meals so healthy energy was out, mistake number 2. Then we rushed home to get ourselves ready for pics. oi. Needless to say, you know where this is going. The girls were absolutely crazy! Thankfully, we did them outside, but still… One would’ve thought I stuffed them with Oreos and Coca-Cola beforehand. The poor photographer. I’m not sure if its better or worse that I consider her a personal friend but it is good she has kids, and working with them is certainly her forte. Frustrated by all, we went home and had a quiet night and early to bed. I know she got some good shots and thankfully, she’s still speaking to me.
Why is it that family pictures or “family” anything adds an additional layer of stress? Shouldn’t it be the opposite? I couldn’t sleep all night after that. I kept tossing and turning, not because the girls were being unruly but because we didn’t seize the moment. #regret Brent and I are both guilty, like most parents, of being overtly-aware of how our children behave in public and that’s exactly where we were. The fact that they were too stimulated to follow direction, from anyone, was patience-pushing. I had the tricks, the snacks, the music, the toys, even some bribery if needed, but they were too lost in being kids. In hindsight, what’s wrong with that? We didn’t have any meltdowns, no one was being rude or disrespectful, they were just wound for sound. Then it hit me, at 3:00AM what a MISSED OPPORTUNITY! We could’ve gotten so many MORE awesome silly and fun family photos and had fun memories of this time together, if we had just embraced the girls crazy antics in that small time-frame. I feel my RBF wasn’t even resting in most and Brent’s stoic “what has my life coming to” stare is probably what was captured in the background but let me take this opportunity to share this…
If you are planning on taking those special family photos in the coming weeks, embrace it, all of it, no matter what it is. What a cool photo opp that I wish we had seized. Maybe I’m hormonal, maybe I’m emotional but thinking about it I just felt compelled to remind parents to get in there with your kiddos. Be silly. Kiss when they are making funny faces instead of smiling; throw leaves with them when they won’t sit still. Twirl instead of walk and chase them around if they won’t stand in their spot; because these are some of the best moments, unstaged and unfiltered. Yes, I’m sure we have more than a few great pics (the woman is a photog-genius) but we could’ve gotten so many more. Yes, it’s frustrating when you are making requests that are being completely ignored, but even I know when in doubt, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. When we are having silly days, we dance it out, we shake it off, we blast music and laugh. Maybe not all the time, but we try.
Why is it that as soon as you label something, pressure follows? Holiday dinners, family portraits, special family dates, they never live up to the expectation that is attributed by being labeled. Instead, learn from my mistake, ditch the labels, cherish the moments, join in on the chaos, and make the most of the moments, even the crazy ones, this holiday season. You won’t regret it.