As a child, my mother planned family portraits every year until her children were grown. Once we became old enough to refuse the gathering, dressing up and posing that all of us hated, my mother could only resort to pleading and guilt to try to corral her five for long enough to push the button. We hated it. Or, at least, I did. Sort of. There was actually no reason to truly hate it other than that it always seemed to be the time for a photo when we were all relaxing. Always the inopportune time.
One photo session was held the Thanksgiving weekend that I was home from college. It would have been a great time for a photo except that I had been in a terrible accident the week prior. I was a passenger in a car that flipped back over front for over 300 feet in the grassy area that separates westbound highway 70 from eastbound highway 70 on the way from St. Louis, Mo. to Kansas City, Mo. Luckily, I was thrown from the car prior to its complete demolishing and ended up with only minor visible scars. But, one week after the accident, my face was still swollen, my neck was still hurt, my mind was with my friend that lay in the intensive care unit teetering between life and death. Not the best time for a “say cheeeeeeesse.”
I was used to complaints about having to take photos. But when I woke The Man the morning of our planned photo session, I did not expect to hear complaints. I had prepared him days before, advising that we would take family photos “this weekend”. Then again the day before, “don’t forget we are taking photos tomorrow.” He agreed and I should have instantly known that there was too much ease in his “Okay, mom.”
I woke early on Saturday wanting to make sure that I had everything together because I would be taking our family photos myself. I double checked that I had all of the equipment: camera, battery charged, memory card empty and formatted, flash, tripod, something to weigh down the tripod to keep it from tipping and destroying my camera and lens. Everything was in place.
I prepared breakfast and woke the kids. Everyone knew we were to get up early. Everyone knew that I wouldn’t have much time because I had another shoot scheduled in the afternoon. Everyone knew what they were to wear since I had hand-picked it all the day before. Everyone knew their places but, everyone was not going to be on board this day and all that I could think was “it never fails….why does everything have to be so freaking difficult for some people? He does NOT get that from me.”
The Man: This is not going to work today? I am too tired to take pictures. It’s going to have to wait.
Me: Whaaat? Why does ev-ery-thi-ng have to be so damn difficult with you? We are doing photos today.
The Man: I am tired. I didn’t get any sleep last night and I don’t feel like taking any photos today. We can do it another day.
Me: I am not discussing this any further but, I tell you what. I am taking family photos today…with or without you. But, I promise you this, if you are not in my photos and participating completely, you better not ever ask me for SHIT!!! Ever! And we are leaving at exactly 10:30.
There are times when children know that their parents are not bluffing. This was one of those times. This boy is living in my place, being supported by me because he is a full-time student, can’t afford to live on his own and can’t afford to live with me but be on his own. He knew better than to try me on this and I am truly glad that he made the right choice.