Sunday, November 14, 2010

Family Portrait

I doubt there is a mother around who doesn't want a beautiful family picture. Pictures are the only items we have from our past. They are the snapshots of the joy, laughter, love and even struggles each and every family faces. I am no exception - I want a big, beautiful family portrait displayed in my home, so that I can remember more clearly the various stages of our lives together as I age and ultimately forget those moments in time.

Well, I'm blessed to share that we have a wonderful friend who is an amazing photographer. She is a wife and mother herself, so she understands the importance of capturing these wonderful moments. But she also knows how difficult it can be - and our family is no exception! Not only are we a family with young kids - but we've got four (soon to be five!) kids, one of them being that handsome red head of ours who can be especially temperamental. The icing on our family cake is Yoko, Dylan's service dog. That is a lot of variables when trying to get a decent family portrait!

Our dear friend never ceases to amaze me and always gets beautiful individual or small combinations of pictures of our kids or Rob and I with the kids. We've had a few decent family shots, but nothing "over the top". Someone has their head is turned, a strange face is being made or a child is holding an item that is less than desirable to be in the picture. Yes, these are the things that make a picture a picture, yet the desire to have that picture perfect family portrait always seems to hang overhead.

This year was no exception. I was determined to get that family photo!! So off we went to a fun park, where we hoped we might just snag that family portrait. At moments, the kids were all smiles...then seconds later there were tears and, of course, attitude. I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, telling myself that when our youngest was about ten, our chances HAD to improve. Until then, all bets were off.

We had a blast during our family pictures, even if we did leave exhausted and knew pizza and ice cream were on the menu for that evening. I was confident our dear friend had gotten some great shots - she always did - but the prospect of a GOOD family portrait had seemed to disappear shortly after she began taking pics - just too many variables that didn't seem to be meshing. It was what it was - and I was okay with that. It wasn't ideal, but I shrugged it off. Obviously, Dylan is always the wild card when it comes to pictures. It's all about bribery and manipulation and today had been no exception. We played the Dylan game of "If you do this, you can earn that" for nearly an hour and a half. My brain was exhausted. I couldn't even remember what he'd earned and not earned by the time we were done!

A few days passed and our proofs came in. I was in tears. Our amazing photographer had gotten a BEAUTIFUL family portrait! I was speechless and literally sat at our computer and cried. It was completely unexpected! I was also stunned to see just how big my pregnant belly was - which made the picture that much more complete!

There are moments I want to throw in the towel and not even attempt doing particular things with our family - in a large part due to Dylan. It's challenging, complicated and exhausting. These are the days when I simply don't want to fight the battle, but know that I should. Some things have gotten easier with time, other things have become more difficult. I never know what to expect, but this successful family portrait was a reminder to never give up and too keep on fighting, even when every indication is pointing to a disaster.

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