Family pictures might be right at the top of the list of things that cause me to have low level panic attacks. I play the role of stylist, logistics coordinator, and financier to make it happen. I usually work myself up into a frenzy thinking about the Who, What, When, Where, and How. The Why is always a known variable: To capture images of my kids as they are today –
A seven year old boy with a golden honey tan only achievable by spending a summer outside. He is trademarked by the gaping hole where his baby front tooth was once a placeholder.
A five year old boy with the cutest smirk of a smile and the constant twinkle of mischief in his eyes.
And a three year old girl with unruly curly cues and streaks of blond highlights just weeks shy of her very first haircut.
They will never be this version of themselves again and I ache to remember every detail. It is easy to lose sight of the true motivations of the event while percolating over the smallest details of the hour. Stress is a thief like that.
I’ve been consistently remind myself that life is full of trying moments and unexpected obstacles in order to alleviate the massive amounts of pressure to get it right on a daily basis. To remind myself that life is an adventure – not an ordeal. A few weeks ago, my hard work was put to the test….
I ducked out of work a tad early. It was the end of summer and no one would notice. I zig-zagged my way through traffic on the way home. Matt, the kids, and I ate something that resembled dinner and changed into our prescribed outfits. We were ready head out to our family picture session after just a few hair tousles and some powdering of noses. 45 minutes later and several rounds of “Would you Rather” adolescent boy style (Would you rather eat a worm or step on a snail?), we arrived at the Connecticut shoreline.
The session didn’t last long. We actually would have wrapped up sooner had we not had multiple unplanned bathroom breaks. I didn’t hover or direct or fix the children. I actually took a few steps away when I felt my perfectionist tendencies rising up from within me. It doesn’t have to be flawless, I reminded myself. Perhaps the melody of the waves had put a spell on me. We finished right at dusk and witnessed a stunning pinky blue sunset by the water. I couldn’t be sure that we got the money shot, but I was confident that I would be happy with the results. After all, we’re talking about pictures of my favorite people on Earth. How could I not love them?! We took a quick tour of where I spent summers as a kid. I never pass up an opportunity to remind my kids that I was once a kid too and it never fails to produce some giggles of disbelief. We eyed waterfront homes for sale (some day!) and then, we hit up the local ice cream spot for sprinkles, whipped cream, and sundaes. We went home. Bedtimes breached. Everyone still smiling, even without a camera flashing.
The pictures we took that day are amazing. I will treasure them not only because of the beautiful faces captured, but also because they will serve as a reminder to welcome more imperfectly perfect adventures in my life.