The Elusive Family Photo
Looking through our family pictures, it appears that we have difficulty all getting in the frame at the same time.
The Family Photo: it's a rare thing, at least for my crew. Neither my husband nor I have anything beyond the basic photography skills (Read: we can point the camera at a subject and push a button), but as parents of three kids, we're called to pick up the camera on a regular basis. Who can resist a 3-year-old smile with a chocolate milk mustache? Or a 10-year-old in a baseball uniform? Or a 4-year-old trying out roller skates for the first time?
Yes, our computers are overrun with digital picture files capturing the special occasion moments, and all the everyday moments in between. We don't have much in the way of "art" in our home, but we do have framed photos in every room, on shelves and on walls, displaying the memories we want to highlight.
But when it comes to getting one picture of all of us, that's a much bigger challenge. We have a few spontaneously taken family shots, snapped in the company of friends in a moment of, "Hey, would you mind taking a picture of us?" I love any picture we can get, but usually those involve someone looking off in a different direction, or someone else whining because he or she doesn't want to be in a picture and the emotion playing out loud and clear on his or her face.
Professional pictures? Ha! The last one we took as a family in a photo studio was when we only had to convince one child to look toward the camera and smile, which feels like ages ago. This is one of those tasks that sits on the mental to do list, gathering dust. We mean to do it, but life just keeps getting in the way.
The picture you see at the top of this article will probably always remain one of my favorite family photos. While it's far from a lovely shot, it perfectly captures what life was like at the time.
Taken two days after our third child was born, we were sleep-deprived and still in shock that the children outnumbered us. When we made a valiant effort to get an impromptu family photo taken by my visiting parents, of course there were multiple challenges. I think there was a diaper change break, a couple different ways of sitting together to appease certain young children, and ultimately an incident with a water bottle that apparently broke our then 18-month-old daughter's little heart. The fact that my mom thought to snap a picture of this scene is very, very telling about my family.
My husband holding his head in his hands, our toddler screaming her head off, triggering the two day old to do the same, our oldest looking a bit dazed by this new reality, and me doing the only thing I could think to do at the time ... laugh. Family photos don't get any more realistic than this.
While I still hope to haul our crew to a professional photographer sometime before our oldest packs his bags for college, I'm pretty sure no future photo will eclipse this one in my heart. It sits in a frame in our living room and my eyes light upon it each and every day. It should come as no surprise that I can never stop myself from giggling.
Dawn may reside in Greenbelt in real life, but online she lives at her blog, my thoughts exactly, where she chatters on about her funny kids, her NPR obsession and plenty of other randomness. She can also be found at 5 Minutes for Books, reviewing everything from contemporary fiction to children's literature.