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Get In The Picture

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day, and Facebook was flooded with pictures of people with their moms.

My friends had some really great pictures of both themselves with their mothers as well as with their children.

And it occurred to me as I was looking at all these pictures that I have very few pictures of myself with the kids, both as a group and individually.

Part of this is because we moms tend to be the ones documenting things and are on the other side of the camera.

But for me, I think a bigger part of it is that I don’t want to look like shit in pictures.

I’m older than I used to be, I’m heavier than I used to be, I’m wrinklier than I used to be, and there are less and less flattering angles these days.

But my kids won’t care about any of that stuff in ten or twenty or fifty years.

They won’t be bummed about how thin or fresh faced I look.

But they’ll be bummed if they are looking for a picture of the two of us when they were kids and they can’t find any.

So I was thinking about this, and I was thinking about a friend of mine who is a photographer, and last year she did a photo project where she took a picture of a moment with one of her kids every day for a year. And at the end of the year, she had 365 pictures of her kids.

She wasn’t in most of the pictures (or maybe even any of them), but it got me thinking.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to take a picture a day.

And I don’t want to feel pressured to take a picture a day.

But I definitely want to have more pictures of myself with the kids than I do now (which isn’t really that grand of a goal because I hardly have any as it is).

So I’m done worrying about angles and how fat or old I look.

Instead, I’m focusing on giving my kids some memories to look back on.

Like this one:

That was actually taken on Mother’s Day night. Number 6 had a loose tooth that he wouldn’t let anyone pull out. It had turned almost sideways.

He’s the kind of kid who won’t let you touch the damn tooth at all. No matter how loose it is.

But it was so bad that I couldn’t take it anymore.

So when he was in the bathtub, I snuck my hand into his mouth real quick when he wasn’t expecting it and flicked that little f *cker right into the water.

He cried because he couldn’t find the tooth. But then he found it under his butt, and he thought that was funny, and we all had a good laugh.

It was a moment for all of us because Number 6 had been looking like a jack-0-lantern for a long time and we all just wanted to pull that damn tooth out.

Then today I got this picture:

Number 7 had her kindergarten music concert.

It’s the last kindergarten concert I’m gonna watch. Number 7 was hilariously loud.  I’m so glad I got this picture! And it’s not a big deal, but it’s a picture I wouldn’t have taken a week ago.

Another milestone documented.

I’ll be honest. I’m having a hard time not focusing on all my imperfections in every picture I take.

But every time my brain goes there, I give myself a reminder about what it really is I should really be focusing on.

It’s not the wrinkles and the pounds and the angles.

It’s the memories in the pictures, and the memories I’m preserving for my kids.

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The 16 Pictures (Just About) All Parents Will Take

The 16 Pictures (Just About) All Parents Will Take

1. the my-kid-made-a-big-f*cking-mess picture

2. the first-day-of-school picture

first day 2012

3. the I-smeared-my-food-on-my-face picture

DSC00553

4. the beach/vacation picture

10 pictures 8

5. the baby and the pet picture

10 pictures 6

6. the look-my-kid-is-sleeping-with-part-of-his-body-sticking-out-of-the-crib picture

10 pictures 9

7. the naked baby on the stomach picture

10 pictures 5

8. the how-the-eff-did-my-kid-get-there? picture

chair stacking

9. the first-birthday-cake picture10 pictures 12

10. the let’s-dress-our-kids-up-in-matching-Christmas-stuff picture

10 pictures 3

11. the  the-tooth-fairy-is-coming-tonight! picture

lost tooth

12. the look-how-cute-my-kid-is-in-this-outfit-that-has-ears-on-it picture

10 pictures 4

13. the I-have-a-new-brother or sister picture
10 pictures 2

14. the baby-in-the-cute-Halloween-costume picture

10 pictures 11

15. the I-tried-to-get-a-nice-picture-but-my-kid-just-bawled-his-brains-out-which-makes-it-cute-anyway picture

10 pictures 7

and finally,

 16. the pumpkin patch picture

10 pictures 10

Sometimes,

if you’re lucky,

you get a combo.

10 pictures 1

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A picture is worth, well, not much anymore.

Yesterday, because I don’t really have enough things going on, I had Number 3’s entire baseball team,and their families,over for an end-of-the-season party.

It was kind of a selfish move — I’d much rather have everyone here, instead of loading up all the kids and shlepping them and all their required paraphernalia to the town park. Or beach. Or anywhere else.

And have to skip naps.

The kids had a great time.

They swam.

They played badminton.

And basketball.

And football.

The adults hung out.

And played horseshoes.

And actually sort of relaxed.

And my little guys still got to take their naps.

Win-win.

The coach and his wife took care of all the food stuff. Even manning the barbeque.

So I was free to just, enjoy.

My camera was up in the office charging.

And I left it there.

Part of me felt like I should be taking pictures.

Documenting.

Pointing and clicking until I got that perfect picture.

But I resisted the urge.

I just took one picture.

It’s not very good.

But it’s of Number 3 getting his award. Most improved.

Right after I took it, I looked at it.

It was blurry.

It wasn’t exactly well-composed.

I should take another.

But the moment passed.

And you know what?

Who cares?

Because you know how many pictures I have on my computer, and phone, and facebook?

About 450,000.

I haven’t actually developed a single one.

It has been approximately 4 years since I printed out an actual photograph.

And while digital cameras are pretty amazing, they are also pretty annoying.

That instant feedback, and need to keep clicking until every person and object in the picture looks perfect is exhausting.

I miss the days of finishing a roll of film.

You know, one of these?

Kodak-film-roll

Back in the day of developing film, you had some self control.

You only had 24 or 36 shots.

You didn’t use all of them on your kid’s first at-bat.

You had to make that shit last.

Not anymore.

I have about 2,875 pictures of Number 7 in her high chair with yogurt smeared all over her face.

All from the same sitting.

But not one, single, actual print.

10 years ago, I would have taken one or two.

And then, when the roll was done, I would have rushed down to CVS, and waited with anticipation to pick up that envelope of pictures.

And then  a week (or after one-hour photo emerged, an hour) I’d run into the store to get them.

I’d rip that envelope open.

You know, right there by the cash register.

Because you just couldn’t wait to see if you got a “good” picture.

And out of 36, you might get 2 or 3 really good ones.

And that made them all the more meaningful.

And even if the other 33 were crappy, at least you had something tangible.

So yesterday, when the coach’s wife brought the cake out, and then came around to all the moms to let us know she was about to cut it, and we should come take a picture now, I just kind of looked at her.

What the fuck do I need a picture of a cake for?

Would I have taken that picture with a regular, old school, roll of film camera?

I told her I didn’t think I needed one.

And then she said,

“But it has the team record on it.”

“Go ahead and cut it,” I said.

After all, if I decide I really need one, I can always check out Facebook this morning.

Your baseball friends added 357 new photos.

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