Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mommy Moments :: Fall Family Pictures

Do you remember the horror that was taking family pictures when you were a child?  Can you recall the annoying matching outfits.  How stressed out your parents were with trying to make everyone coordinate and cooperate?  If your parents were on a budget like mine, that meant hunting through your closet because buying new, matching outfits wasn't an option.  Do you remember being forced to smile and the lectures about how much taking pictures costs and how messing them up meant throwing away money?

I remember family picture days like they happened yesterday.  Actually, they did just happen yesterday.  With the newest addition to our family, I feel like all the things we skipped with our Little Darling should be done, especially since we don't want more children.  I had my Little Darling when I was 23.  I was still in college and thinking about jobs to start a career path.  I was a busy Mom on the go, with little time to consider things like making memories.  I was also scarred by things in my past, like the annoyance of family pictures.  We all had forced smiles, except my dad who looked as angry as he was on the day of the photos.  Someone was always joking around and messing up all the pictures, and we would all get in trouble because of that one goofball.  Someone was always whining and crying... Maybe there were two cry babies?  I have a big family.  Someone always had the never-ending bad attitude and complained about everything and everyone.  I was that last character.

I just knew that I never wanted to subject my kids (or Myself) to that ever again!  We thought we were those "cool" parents that document memories via selfies and various quick untouched shots with our camera phones.  We were on the go all the time, too busy to stop and really think about family photos at the time.  Both The Hubs and I were in college and working.  And we wanted to be hipster parents so badly, defying all the stupid traditions of both our childhoods.

But then we had our second child.  And on top of it, we made the decision not to have anymore children.  Suddenly, those things we thought were stupid wastes of time and money became important to me.  I want a house with pictures on the walls.  I want pretty scrapbooks filled with memories of our girls, finally a set of sisters after waiting for this dream to materialize for so long.  And then it happened, without my even realizing it.  I became "That Momster" and we became one of "Those Families".

I was grumpily yelling at everyone the way my mom did growing up.  The Hubs was cynical and counter productive complaining about the time he had to spend when he would rather be home, kicked back on his day off.  Our Little Darling was running to and fro, being a complete goof all the way across the board.  And our Little Someone (who is in need of a new name!) cried half the time and spent the rest of the time eating leaves and pulling hair.  Basically, a disaster.  And to top it all off, because the clash of the personalities wasn't enough, the batteries in my camera died within 10 minutes of our arrival at the location and we ended up using my phone for all but a handful of these pictures.

The fighting got so ridiculous, that we had to have a sit-down talk.  The Hubs demanded to know why, if we both agree that we HATED being forced to take "fake" family photos as kids, would I want to continue with such a stupid tradition.  We are smarter than our parents, and we try to be better parents than ours were to us, as we learn and evolve, but he needed to know why I was so dead-set on keeping this one thing from my childhood that we both regretted experiencing.

My rationale:  This is our life, our children, their memories.  These are our moments and our chance to make it last forever.  None of these pictures were meant to be "professional" looking or perfect.  They were meant to be US: decent, normal humans living life with the hand we've been dealt, and choosing to see beauty and endless possibility in that uncertainty.  That is what these photos are to me.  Belief.  Hope.  Possibility.  Beauty.  Promise

So from that moment on, we got our shit together and we focused on making beautiful memories with our young children and with one another.