Family photo hardly just a ‘point and shoot’ event

All I wanted was a picture — OK, two pictures — of my family. Shouldn’t that be simple?
My goal this summer was to get two photos taken while my children were all living in the same city. I might have been more successful had I planned a trip to the moon. At least we know for certain that can be done.
I had tackled the project of reframing the “growing up” photos. You know, the ones every mother has lining some long hallway in the house, starting as infants and going up until you could no longer bribe or physically drag your children down to the local photo studio. I admired the design of an artist-friend’s photo wall and following her example, I included various multiple-photo frames. The effect is great, but I ended up with a few empty slots. This prompted my quest for new photos.
The first one involves a favorite of mine of my children, at about ages 6 and 8. We had borrowed grandpa’s VW camper and had popped up the top and folded out the beds for a driveway camp-out. The kids were having a ball climbing all over it and I caught them as they both peeked upside-down over the edge of the upper bunk, grinning adorably. With two empty spots in one frame, I decided to pair the original with another one of the same pose in the same VW, at ages 20 and 22. This time there was a lot less giggling.
Can some physics or biology professor explain to me why it is harder to hang your head over a small ledge and grin when you are 20, than it was when you were 6? My son looked like an overripe tomato after about 15 seconds but I think he was holding his breath, just to annoy me. His sister, meanwhile, was laughing hysterically at him turning purple, so at least she was grinning.
My other ill-fated plan was to get new photos of the entire family. The entire family does not mean 25 extended relatives. It only means four people. Finding a time when all four were available and the light was right rivaled any Hollywood celeb. We rescheduled twice. But the quirk that foiled my plan in the end was that no one but I saw this photo as a priority. They would show up. That’s all they could promise. I had to remind everyone over and over and over. This photo has to reflect the beauty and perfectness of our family for generations to come. My family refused to share my enthusiasm.
How do I know? My daughter dyed her hair and my son buzzed his. They didn’t realize this would kill the photo, but I could tell they were unrepentant. I have now given them a royal, mom edict that they have until Christmas vacation to grow everything out to a length and color worth immortalizing.
And just for conversation’s sake, I might have mentioned something about a present-free Christmas morning and possibly redoing my will Jan.1.


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