A few weeks ago my family had a photo session done by another photographer. We picked out clothes, got all dressed up and spent about an hour together laughing and hugging and had a pretty good time. At one point during our session I had stepped aside to give my boys a few directions to keep them busy so that my husband and I could have some pictures done together. While I was doing this I heard the photographer say to my husband something like, “You must know what to do! You probably do this all the time.” I smiled when I heard him say, “No, not really.”
The thing is, I try not to bombard my family with my camera. So it’s pretty rare that I have my kids and husband pose for pictures. In fact, earlier this week we started the school year. Of course we did a few of the traditional back to school pictures. I’m glad we have these! They are a sweet piece of capturing my children growing up. But oh man... they were not fun to take for me or the kids! Of course if you’re friends with me on Facebook you’d never know this because in the pictures I shared everyone is smiling.
In reality, there are a few reasons why this moment is always a bit of a headache. I don’t know how all those amazing people manage to take pictures of their kids in the morning on the first day of school with those beautiful signs custom written for each child. This just never really works for us. We are busy helping kids get dressed, getting ourselves dressed, eating breakfast, packing lunches… you know, the routine. Except it isn’t routine because we haven’t done it for 3 months! Someone usually ends up crying because they’re not used to getting up early (this might be me), and I have one who doesn’t like to eat breakfast until 9:00 a.m. and can’t understand why we are making him choke it down at 6:30 a.m. By the time we’re all ready to go there’s not time for pictures and really, no one is in the mood.
So…. we usually do ours after school. Now even if your kid had the best first day of school, they come home tired! Our youngest might have had a little explosion with throwing things out of his backpack and I can’t even remember what direction I gave that triggered it. It might have been, "Please stop throwing things out of your backpack!" I have no idea. He was going to get back at me by not having his picture taken, to which I said, “Okay!” This led to more crying and him saying, “Fine, I’ll do it!” because he really does want his picture taken. On top of that, this year they wanted our 8 month old puppy in the picture and he wasn’t really in the mood to cooperate either after being in his pen most of the day. After we finished our whole happy first day of school picture experience I told my husband, “I’m not sure if the kids or the dog had a harder time listening. This should have taken about 5 seconds.” Sounds fun, doesn’t it? This is why I don’t make my kids pose for pictures and try to do as little posing as possible during sessions with other families as well.
On the other hand, there are other moments that I live for as a mom and can’t resist grabbing my camera. Last night while I was standing at the sink beginning the supper dishes I looked out the window and saw my boys flying down the driveway with their bikes tied together with clothesline.
They called it “tubing” because the rider in front was the boat driver. There is nothing I love more than watching them pretend, take risks and crash together. And yes, there was a crash, but the oldest fixed up the youngest without my help while I watched carefully from the kitchen.
These are the moments I love because their smiles and giggles are real and the story is all their own. These are the moments when it’s easy to decide that I don’t care about the time it will take, or the work that will need to be done later, and I go outside to laugh with them and take a few pictures of my boys being little.