Monday, 4 April 2016

Picture Perfect. An Adventure in Family Photos

Today on Mombies Unite, Erin is sharing her attempts to get that perfect family photo. Like her, I've discovered that kids have "momdar," radar that goes off when something is a big deal and puts the kibosh on perfection. Say CHEESE!

Meet Erin. She's an Edmonton native but happy as a clam on the East Coast of Canada. A mom to 3 under 3, she recently returned to work and has never felt more qualified to be a drama teacher. She's a travel enthusiast and a firm believer in date nights, karma and sunscreen.  

I met Erin at a French teaching course in Atlantic Canada and we hit it off as big talkers in both official languages and lovers of all things funny. Every time I tried to feel sorry for myself during my second pregnancy, I headed to Facebook to scan Erin's incredibly real and positive journey through pregnancy with twins and a toddler and her strength and humour through a year of colic and mayhem that she handled with grace and kindness. 

Family Pictures.  That seemingly obligatory yet incredibly stressful time of year when I run around like a headless chicken looking for the perfect clothing in which to outfit my family, a great location to shoot and a talented photographer who doesn’t demand my first-born as payment.  Every year my husband quietly rolls his eyes at me when I’m not looking. I know he thinks I’m a little crazy and a little obsessed, but I also know his secret: he loves that I’m so organized. After all, if he was left in charge of this tedious task, our family picture would likely involve pajamas, the kitchen, and the timer on our Nikon.  

Our first year doing pictures, our son was 3 months old.  It was COLD outside.  He spit up all over his sweater before the first click of the shutter. He also cried. A rookie mistake, we had dressed him in ridiculously inappropriate clothing.  How was I going to show him off if he was sporting a ski mask?

The second year he was on his game but I, on the other hand, was feeling kind of miserable. We had picked a nice, waterfront location with beautiful sailboats.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature chose to engulf the city – and my hair – in fog that morning.  Pregnant with twins and an emotional roller-coaster, I, Medusa, told our photographer to “just get it over with” when she offered to reschedule.  

This past fall I was determined to get the perfect picture.  Call me crazy (my husband does), but I was certain I could get seven-month-old twins and a feisty two-year-old to participate angelically in my photo fantasy.  It was a chilly day, but the rain was holding off.  Everything was going according to the plan….until it stopped going according to the plan.    After about an hour of yelling CHEESE and traipsing around the park, tiredness and the cold took over...and we had yet to take a picture of all five of us together.  I threw an oversized, sort-of-matching sweater on our toddler and begged him to smile. Let’s face it; we bribed him with the promise of Timbits (American friends, these are a Canadian delicacy you need to try). We sang to the twins.  We yelled random words out of the corner of our smiles to get their attention.   

 Snap. Snap. Snap.  DONE.

When the pics came back I initially felt frustrated. I won’t even lie… I cried a little. I looked back at the previous sessions.  Why couldn’t we get a perfect family photo with all of us grinning at the camera?  Was the perfect picture too much to ask for?     

But as I continued to scan through them, it dawned on me that I possessed over 100 pictures of reality.  

 This was my family – my life.    

A life where spit happens and frizzy hair is the real me.  A life where my toddler loves his baby brothers so much he would rather hug them than smile for a stranger.   

Perhaps next year I’ll let my husband run the show….

Have any family photo mishaps to share? 
I love the life recorded here and I love that Erin is embracing the beautiful mess that is parenting. Show this marvelous mombie some love in the comments below!

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