Time for the family portrait: What's wrong with this picture?

05/11/2010 12:00 PM

11/17/2010 4:19 PM

Why are the best pictures of my children the ones where I wasn't involved? There is not a single picture displayed in my house that I had a hand in.

The best pictures I have of the boys are black-and-white candid school pictures, taken over the years on their preschool playground. And what really gets me is that it was always a day where I forgot to put them in a nice shirt and comb their hair. I didn't consult with the photographer, or suggest seating positions, or explain how to get them to stop screaming and start smiling.

The guy just went out there, put them on the swings, snapped a few shots, and I ended up with the most beautiful, whimsical, never-before-seen expressions that still bring me to tears when I look at them.

So here's my dilemma. Now Mr. Hot Shot photographer with the amazing eye has invited the entire family to come to the playground to be photographed. And so I'm trying to figure out, how do I do this?

Do I get everyone camera-ready? Because I didn't do that before, and the pictures turned out great. Do I color-coordinate? Or do I let everyone pick their favorite color and hope it's shot in black and white?

Do I wash and style everyone's hair? That's what I normally do before pictures. But what is gelled hair going to look like coming down the slide? They'll all look like they're wearing toupees.

White shirts, khaki shorts. Black tops, white pants? No, I can't do that, it'll look planned. And I think it's supposed to look like we all just ran into each other by the seesaw and are in the middle of a family lovefest, when all of a sudden Annie Leibovitz showed up. Right? Okay, everybody wear what you want. And don't gel.

So we get there and I'm racing to get a good swing. But then we're told they're shooting the pictures by the church. And they sit us in a formal pose on the steps with the beautiful stone as a backdrop. And then the photographer steps way back exposing everybody's white legs - and two sets of SpongeBob flip flops.

And then she says, "everybody look at Mommy." So the whole family is staring at me, and I'm staring at the camera, wishing somebody in a cute sundress and heels would walk by so I could trade clothes.

And then she says to look at my husband. But when I look at him, he looks at our oldest son, and then our youngest son looks at my husband to see what he's looking at, and I'm trying to make eye contact with just somebody, and suddenly we're the opening montage of "The Brady Bunch."

I'm not sure how it's gonna turn out. But I'm glad we have one more year at the preschool - one more chance for a photo finish.

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