I’m going to blame it on The Children’s Place.
After receiving 37 emails in the span of 5 days, shouting at me Free Shipping! Clearance! Extra 20, 30, 50, 60% off! I gave in to the pressure and opened the email.
Here’s the things, as a seasoned Children’s Place shopper, I know their tricks. It doesn’t matter what the sale is, when the math is done you are always back to the same price. But their marketing plan worked, because I opened the email anyway.
First I browsed through the little girl stuff, drooling over the stuff and counting all the money I’m saving. Then I check the big girls, nothing much there. Onto the boys department.
Hmm, tshirts are pretty cheap..I did some quick math and came up with 3 dollars and some change a piece…
An idea starts forming. We need to update the family photo...baby is already 5 months old and he’s not in the photo on the wall…maybe I can find matching shirts…
In every size…
They have the XS,S,M,L…oh cute, a coordinating toddler one…and a baby one…less than $20 and three minutes later, I had the order confirmation in my inbox.
Deep breath. We are going to do another family photo.
A week later the shirts arrive.
Time to call my photographer friend, who took such great pictures last year.
I push it off for awhile, still remembering a little too clearly all the details of last year’s photo shoot.
A month later, I’m ready to make the call.
We set a day and a time and the countdown is on. I go through all the closets, collecting the matching shirts and stash them in my room, so they can be clean and ready to be put on just seconds before taking pictures.
I gather matching pants for everyone, and add it to my growing collection.
I find my daughter something coordinating to wear, and it’s in my room too.
The day arrives. The kids planted all afternoon and by the end of the activity they looked more plantlike than kidlike, so some serious showers were in order.
Thirty minutes to picture time. I deem it safe to hand out the clothes.
Within seconds the boys are ready to roll. Socks and shoes, I ordered. I don’t usually control what they wear, but for picture time, I’m in command.
We’re taking the pictures down the block at the pond, so I send the kids who are ready to meet the photographer.
Alls going well. I still haven’t had a moment to figure out what I will wear, I need to deal with that soon.
My daughter is ready to run out the door. With her crocs. Bright. Yellow. Crocs.
“You can’t wear the crocs.”
“I have to wear my crocs.”
“Wear your shoes.”
“They hurt me, they don’t fit.”
“They fit yesterday. You can’t wear the crocs in the picture.”
As the only girl, she’s making up for it now.
“I want to wear my crocs!”
The tears are coming…
“Ok, I’ll wear my old Shabbos shoes.”
“No, you can’t wear your old Shabbos shoes.”
“I like my old Shabbos shoes.”
“Yes, but they LOOK like old shabbos shoes!”
I’m losing this battle, I can feel it.
My husband appears and thankfully takes over.
I finally get to run off to my closet and figure out what I will wear. It’s a mother thing, We forget to plan for ourselves sometimes.
I scramble around and thankfully find something that’ll match everyone and then do the quickest makeup job possible.
They’re waiting for me, so I run to catch up.
It’s only been 10 minutes, I’m sure they all still look as clean as when we left.
They’re all having a grand time, and I’m working on not being stressed.
And then I see the mud.
5 year olds sneakers look like they are supposed to be deep brown, only I know it’s a sheet of mud. His pants are splattered.
“I fell in the mud,” he admits sheepishly. He was trying to see the ducks…
7 year old has a sprinkling of mud on his shirt. Shoes are looking brown.
Oh come on, boys! I want to scream. Can’t you guys stay clean for even two minutes?!
But I don’t.
I don’t want them to dread family photos. I don’t want them to associate family photos with a stressed out mommy.
So I take a deep breath and we get everyone in order. We bribe, we give warnings and we make promises. S’mores for everyone who cooperates.
We smile, we laugh, we look at the camera, we look away from the camera; everyone looks in a different directions, some turn around and face the wrong way too. Some stay in place and some jump up and down.
I notice my daughter wearing her shoes and yellow crocs tucked in the carriage basket.
I make a mental note to find out from my husband what magic he used to pull that off.
My dear photographer friend shoots and shoots, capturing it all.
The kids hug each other and do lots of impromptu stuff.
And 10 minutes later we’re done, and I don’t care anymore how dirty they get trying to reach the ducks and pebbles and what not.
I didn’t get the photos yet, but I know I’ll love them
And I know they won’t be perfect.
I’ll be surprised if we can find one that everyone is looking in the same direction at the same time. And I’m sure the mud stained pants and mud caked shoes will be noticeable from a mile away too. But what is the picture there for, anyway?
I wanted a family photo not to capture perfection, but to capture my family exactly how we are, imperfect and happy.