Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for When We Were Very Young

Emphasis on the very.

I came across this photo while sorting through my brown paper bag and knew I would include it somewhere along the path from A-Z.

This photo was actually taken by a professional photographer and yes, we paid good money for this gem.  This is one of those pictures that sends my mind spinning in several directions, so where to begin?

My first thought is that I distinctly remember this photographer was no match for my 10 month old. Or my normally super easy-going, cooperative-except-that-day three year old. Holy moly what a morning!

Here's the deal-my sibs and I had this idea that we wanted to surprise our parents with a family photo, you know...all their children and grandchildren. Lovely, yes?  We were all spread out per our usual way of living so it was decided everyone would come up to our house and I'd arrange for a photographer to take the photo in his studio.  There would be 8 adults plus my two girls and my niece who was four.

Hubs had a mustache.
I feel I need to mention that in case its not obvious. Ha. Hi hubs!

I wore my hair in a French braid.
Why did I think that was a good idea?
Who knows...let's chalk it up to baby brain.

I want you to know Daughter2 did not begin the day with that headband strapped across the middle of her forehead. It was adorably in place when we left the house that morning, but she was having none of it.  Prior to that day I  had visions of capturing some sweet mother daughter shots, all three of us in pink....sigh.  It was not meant to be.

I actually loved my dress, but by the time that photo was snapped I'd been wrestling the little cutie patootie in that way mothers with babies do from time to time. You know, where they somehow manage to get hold of your bra strap and then swing their arms and legs in an effort to get down, accidentally smacking you in the face. Yeah....that kind of mom fun. I know there are mothers out there nodding their heads.  Most mothers of small children have been on the receiving end of a stray foot to the stomach or an unintentional punch in the nose at one time or another.

Daughter1 looks distressed.
She was.
Under my smile I'm distressed too.

How can I put this nicely? The photographer did not have a way with children. At one point he actually shouted at my three year old. And we were paying him! All parents know if you want your three year old to stop crying all you need to do is shout, right? I'm pretty sure he was single.

Now to be honest she wasn't exactly cooperating, and I could totally relate to his wanting to shout but still, we were paying him! At the ripe old age of three little miss was a teensy bit fraidy scared in unfamiliar situations, and this was something unfamiliar. Plus, he wasn't exactly putting out that I love kids vibe. He was putting out more of an I'm gonna need to hit a bar after you people clear out vibe, and if I'm being honest I wouldn't blame him.

So we spent hours in his studio and I didn't buy the picture.  We bought one of the whole group together for my parents, but I didn't purchase any of just my little family of four.  This was a proof we were given to keep...something to remember the photo shoot by. Like I could forget.

Afterwards we all went back to our house and hung out in the backyard and made homemade ice cream and laughed a lot. I love my siblings. To this day we still say home made ice cream the way Daughter1 did on that day.

And now for the rest of the story...the next day we woke up and my darling little niece greeted us with a raging case of chicken pox.  Two weeks later to the day my two little darlings both woke up with their own chicken pox fun.  Daughter2 was ten months old.  It was the middle of summer and we had no air conditioning. Good times!

It's funny what you remember and what you don't. I remember feeling impatient. Also tired, annoyed, frustrated, disappointed, and cranky. Like my kids, only I wasn't coming down with a case of the chicken pox.

When I look at this picture twenty years later this crummy little proof is suddenly very precious.  That look on Daughter1's face, trying so hard to reign in the tears...her sweet little hands on my arm. I've secured Daughter2 in place like someone from the WWE which makes me smile.  I was learning. Those enormous blue eyes looking out at the world from beneath a well intentioned but misplaced headband.

The smallness of them.
Their helpless need of me.

I loved them so.
I love them still.


  1. Honestly, that just sounds completely insane. I don't even know what else to say.

  2. I remember deciding to have professional photos of the family taken but my kids were slightly older so the pouting was bigger, the strops louder and I also had a smile covering my distress.

  3. Oh my goodness, that is such a perfect example of getting a family picture taken! We have a few of those beauties floating around as well! The look on Daughter 1s face and your askew pearls says it all!

    How did she say homemade ice cream???

  4. Yes, how did she say homemade ice cream? Inquiring minds want to know. ;-)

  5. Oh goodness, haha, I remember a few of these attempts myself! Only I was wrestling 3 wild little boys. I gave up for several years and didn't even try. haha. I didn't get a good decent professional pictures of all 4 of my kids together until the summer before my daughter was to be married, and they were all adults! All 3 of my sons were already married. The guys wore black and Melody wore hot pink. I LOVE it. These posts of yours have taken my on such a memory lane stroll of my own. Enjoy your day!

  6. Joyce, thank you so much for my morning laugh :) I needed it after yesterday's stressful day.

    I can totally relate to the family portrait experience, but I can't top yours! LOL

  7. This is a great picture just for the value of the memories it brought back for you. When I look back at old family pictures it is some of those less-than-perfect ones that I enjoy the most.

  8. We've had many photo sessions like that ourselves. One that sticks out in my mind was taken of the girls when Abby was a couple of months old and Brittany was nearly 5. Abby looked like a little old man...I am not kidding you! We still laugh about it to this day! Needless to say, that photo has never been hung anywhere in our house. :)

  9. It's actually a very sweet picture! I have a picture of MS that brings back the very same memories.

  10. Thanks for the interesting story and for making me laugh.

  11. That's the great thing about having prints versus digital. You can find memories like this.
    -Maurice Mitchell
    The Geek Twins |
    Film Sketchr

  12. What a sweet picture and memory. sandie

  13. Ah, life's interesting moments and the stories behind the photos, I just love the stories thanks for sharing yours.
    Lucy from Lucy's Reality

  14. The picture just makes me smile. Good example of days gone by. Really enjoyed the story and the background to the photo.

  15. Oh if only I could go back and buy all the outtakes of photo sessions. The "bad" photos tell a much better story than the "good".

  16. What a fun story, with so many memories! Our kids got the chicken pox a few weeks before we had our family pictures taken, and some are still visible on both kids. Good memories there too.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Shelly from A to Z

  17. Just catching up with my blog reading, and I had to comment on this cute photo. Oh the french braid. And the mustache. We were right there with you on both counts. :) And, the day of our church directory photo appointment, MY kids were breaking out with chicken pox and I knew it was now or never for the photo. I went in, made sure everyone in the room had already HAD chicken pox, and that there were no kids in the area, and we got in and got out (hopefully) before exposing anyone. Good times. Except that my husband also ended up with chicken pox. :)