You know the drill.
You see a mini-session sale on Facebook. That’s a great price! You can’t pass that up! Your mother has been asking for pictures and the kids have changed so much since last year! You good mom, you. You snagged a great photographer and a great deal.
Of course, the pictures are in the fall, and right now it’s just June, so good thing you don’t have to think about THAT yet! When August comes around you’re already buying back-to-school clothes so you may as well think about photo outfits too. You browse Pinterest for a few minutes and then you realize … You don’t know if it will be 90 degrees or 50 in late October. It’s way too soon to think about this.
Just a little coordination, baby.
September comes and you’ve waited as long as you can. Now you have to think about outfits. But since you still have no idea about the late October weather … You’re just going to have to pick out 2 options for everyone. In my case, a family of 5, everyone needs a hot-weather and a cold-weather option. And everyone needs to coordinate, but not match, but not coordinate too much, but not look like you tried too hard, but also you need to not actually lose your mind trying too hard. Because you are, in fact, trying WAY TOO HARD.
So, 2 outfits X 5 family members is 10 outfits. The boys need to look cute but they’re older, so not silly. You don’t want them to hate you – or these pictures – 10 years from now. The little girl, now she is the cutest and you have the perfect outfit for her. So yes, the entire photoshoot has to revolve around her outfit. Well hers and yours … because you have to wear whatever color makes you look good. So ok, you will base the entire outfit around the color that looks best on you, coordinated with the star of the show, the little princess of the family! Thank goodness she doesn’t have an opinion about what she wears yet.
Who does that leave, ahh … yes … the husband. He will just wear whatever you tell him to. God bless him. He’s a great man.
By mid-October you finally have all the outfits and of course, you forgot shoes. That’s no problem. You ordered the boy’s shirts in three different sizes so you can pick up shoes while you are returning all the extras. And anyway, why don’t these kids ever have the right dress shoes??? And why can’t they just wear flip-flops in the pictures anyway?!?
Stay focused. Stay focused. It’s going to be worth it.
You have the outfits now so sanity is on the upswing. It’s time to obsess over make-up and start saying prayers. You really prefer the cold weather outfits so pray for a cold front. Pray the little princess doesn’t ruin her shoes but if she does, it’s ok. We are getting the picture … right? Pray for no rain and less mosquitos. Pray everyone sleeps well the night before. Pray that no one has a meltdown and that dear husband is ready to assist you to the degree that you need him to assist. There is no assist quite like the assist needed on family picture day. This day is not like any other day, honey. You need to feed them breakfast so they won’t act psycho, but you need to keep that breakfast out of their hair. You need to dress them half at home and half when we get there (no wrinkles, please). You need to bring hairspray and a brush, lipstick, and Johnny’s suspenders. And some gummies as a bribe. You never know when you’ll need a bribe.
You are halfway to your location and you’re all but in full out emotional meltdown mode …. Why on earth did you ever think this was a good idea?! But then you meet the photographer. She’s just so calm. The kids fight, act shy or watch birds, pretty much the entire time. You’re sure she got nothing. And you spent all this money on chaotic pictures rather than etiquette training, where they belong.
Ohhh but then you get the pictures back.
And your memories are captured oh. so. perfectly. You breathe deep and you smile to yourself because you know that no one, in the entire world, knows what it took to pull this off. Just how much effort went into that effortless picture. You are a photo-mom goddess! You are the queen of the Pinterest color palettes. You are a sleep, snack, and nap schedule-extraordinaire!!! And your spouse, and your babies, they’re all yours and they look absolutely perfect. And hey, you look pretty ok in a few of them too. All is right with the world. You are the Family Photo QUEEN!
And that’s all you need. A nine month break and you’ll be ready to do it again next year. Just enough time to forget how exhausting it truly was. All you have now is your sweet reward hanging on the living room wall. The memories captured. The evidence, that even while completely scheduled, posed and staged, still somehow reflects the joy and expression of who your beloved little family is in this precious season of life.
Somehow it is always worth it. Your momma heart is full. Photographed and full.