(last year's winning picture)
Oh, it seems that these simple words can instill dread in the heart of any parent. For starters is the issue of getting everyone in the picture together. We have lots of pictures of the kids, and a handful of each of the parents with some kids, but ones of everyone together? They just don't seem to happen. But a Christmas picture is more than this. It is a picture of everyone together, smiling, or at least looking at the camera, free of debris, spit up, with hair combed. Talk about an idealized picture of life.
(Christmas 2009)And yet here in our family we love Christmas pictures. We eagerly open envelopes during the Christmas season, hanging those pictures of friends and family members somewhere special where they gather up over the holiday season. It is so special to see all of those families changing, growing, and growing up. So we participate, too, year after year. And we love looking back on Christmas cards from years past. I hope to hold on to them so the kids can laugh at them one day, too.
We have been procrastinating with our "Christmas picture" this year. Three kids and two adults all awake, clean, attentive? Whew! Finally, on Sunday, we realized that if we did not order some Christmas cards soon, they would not go out before Christmas. And so we all combed our hair, set the camera timer, and cleared some toys off the floor. We sat down and smiled. No, actually, that is not what happened. We sat down, Hugo pulled Zosia's braid, Lily squinted, and Ben chewed on something. Exhibit A:
And then there's the issue of the computer screen (on which we had just finished watching "Miracle on 34th Street"). Okay. So you reset the camera, sit back down, count to ten, and smile. But the girls aren't smiling. And Hugo is just so interested in that braid! Exhibit B:
I think Ben's look of resignation (and my look of over-enthusiasm) speaks volumes. What have we gotten ourselves into? Folks, we ended up taking TWENTY FOUR pictures. And not because we were looking for a perfect picture. Such pictures do not exist. We were just looking for a picture in which everyone was looking at the camera, looking somewhat normal. "Wait, should Selma be in the picture?" Ben asks halfway into this.
Yay or nay? What do you guys think? Then there's the moment that the two year old of the family starts crying because her sister is saying "Cheese and candy!" instead of "candy and cheese!" when the camera clicks. Ah, the trials of being two.
Okay. We need to regroup. We need a miracle. No, what we really need is potty humor. And so, dear friends, it is with some embarrassment that I confess that our "winning" Christmas picture was taken while yelling something like "Potty!" or "Spit up!" or "Goober poop!" I have my dear husband to thank for the last one.
We actually had quite a good laugh about it in the end. And that is just as it should be.
And drumroll, please, this year's Christmas picture, funny and juvenile, and imperfect, just like our little family: