2000 Words For The Holidays

It’s a deceiving headline, perhaps, given my propensity for writing posts of about that length.  Today, though, I’m letting the old adage do most of the work.  We took the kids to get their annual Christmas portrait taken yesterday.  Among other things, it is part of Maggie’s “dress season.”  She gets one a year and wears it for this picture, Thanksgiving dinner, and the Christmas Eve trip to church.

As you may imagine, getting four kids together for one picture is not exactly easy, particularly when two of them are part of the under-three set.  But, in the end, we always end up with at least one good, Christmas-card worthy snap.

This, though, my friends, is not it:

Now, I don’t remember this exact moment.  I’m pretty sure I can guess, though, that I was there, telling Maggie to get her hands off of Henry.  I’m sure I was telling Ollie to stand still and face the camera.  Henry was probably being silly.  And Theo, little Theo, just standing there doing what he was supposed to be doing.

This is not the shot that will make it to the official portrait but, in many ways, it’s the best one.  As Amy said, it’s true to their personalities.  I love it.

It also got me thinking about these sorts of pictures my parents tried to take of us when we were young.  I remember one year when it seemed to go on forever.  I believe it was 1976 and we didn’t go to some portrait studio.  Instead, we just did it in our living room in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.  There were only four of us then and we sat at the other side of my father’s camera lens for what seemed an eternity.  What emerged was a whole roll of at least one of us not looking good.

I once had the evidence of that photo shoot in its entirety.  All I have now is the one good shot:

If anyone can tell me why the “good” shot features all of us looking off to the side, well, I’d certainly be curious to know.

I’m sure this shot was gotten through much frustration and gritted teeth from my father just as ours now are always achieved through exasperated pleas of standing still and, sometimes, just walking away for a moment.

You will undoubtedly receiving a boatload of photo cards this Holiday season.  In them, we will all try our level best to present our families as, excuse the pun, picture perfect.  How much more fun would this time of year be if we all agreed to send out the shot that best represented our kids as they are rather than the one that shows them as we wish they would be?  Moreover, do we really wish for Stepford children?

I’ll take the ones I have, thank you very much.  They seem to be having some fun up there, don’t they?

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