Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Say "cheese"

A friend stumbled across a photographer’s Web site and pointed out his guidelines for family portraits. One of them was “Don’t argue the night before.”

“What about the day of? Or, even better, while you are getting your portraits made?” I asked, because I’ve done all three.

It’s not easy to get a family of five, dressed and smiling in front of a camera, especially when only one out of five wants to be there. Fortunately, our church updates its directory every three years or so, or there would be no family portraits.

I don’t blame my family too much for grumbling. You see, I was very ambitious in the every years when it came to color-coordinating. One year, I made my daughters wear matching plaid monogrammed dresses and hairbows, even though they are eight years apart. Even worse, I wore a plaid skirt and dressed my son (too little to protest) in a matching romper. My husband took one look at us and asked if he was supposed to wear a kilt. Okay, so, it was funny, just not at the time!

After our photo session, I dragged the gang to dinner, where an excited woman rushed over and thrust a catalog into my hand. It was filled with photos of 30-something-year-old mothers wearing dresses that matched their 10-year-old daughters. And the majority of their outfits were plaid from pastel to primary colors.

“I’m a sales rep. for mother/daughter wear. Please call me,” she said. I tried to explain that we don’t normally dress this way, but I don’t think she heard me over the laughter from my family.

Growing up, we had our family “portraits” taken at the local county fair. Dad would comb his hair, and we would all climb up into the little trailer belonging to the same photographer couple. Year after year, they would snap our Polaroid, and we would excitedly wait for it to develop. You see, we couldn’t ride any rides until we had a photo taken. You never heard my sister and I complain about having our picture made.

We never planned our wardrobe, either. That’s evident because Dad wears the same shirt several years in a row. Nevertheless, it’s a moment in time (10 years worth, in fact), and that is priceless.

Over the years, I’ve relaxed my standards. As long as we are wearing clean clothes and have our teeth brushed, I’m okay. I’m just thankful we can be together long enough to have our photo made. And maybe one day, they will be, too, even if it’s just to laugh at the crazy things their mom made them wear.

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