October 9, 2011

Family Photos

This was our third year in a row to go take pumpkin patch pictures. It seems like one of those things that you just do when you have kids.
I've looked forward to this Saturday for weeks. Watching Tommy play in the pumpkins, taking family pictures, and just enjoying a day that felt a little bit more like fall.

The photo of the day: Tommy wasn't anywhere near a pumpkin, but it's a fabulous picture of my handsome son, that will most definitely be blown up and framed and hung on the wall.
Going with a two-year old on any kind of photo shoot presents challenges in and of itself. It's the trying to get that one perfect shot where you are all looking at the camera and smiling that makes it hard. I seriously don't know how people achieve these "perfect" family photos with boys this age.
It didn't seem like we had much on our side that day. We made it to Boerne in between rain showers on Saturday. The ground was muddy and it didn't take long for Tommy to make a mess and then get it all over us. And as far as that "perfect" family photo I was hoping for....
Well, the afternoon looked more like this instead.
He's a boy. He's two. And he had his own agenda. We were outdoors and he was exploring and getting dirty.

And I wanted the "perfect" family photo. The Christmas card worthy shot where we all looked "perfect." Where we were all smiling perfectly, and each hair on our heads was in the right spot and no mud that got on my jeans could be seen. A picture where I looked slimmer and where Tommy would calmly sit in in our laps and give us his charming little smile - that kind of "perfect."

Apparently I am hell-bent on wanting to appear perfect. Maybe like anyone, I just want our little family to look like we have it all together. I guess I hope to convey whatever message you want to send when you post your "perfect" family pictures on your blog and send out your "perfect" family photos with your Christmas cards. That we're "perfect" and happy and content and healthy and fabulous - or whatever it is that I'm wanting that "perfect" picture to say about us.

I continue to find places where I am striving to appear to be something more just to gain someone else's approval and acceptance of me. I still attempt to seek out my worth and value in someone else's opinion of me. I wish there was a button I could just turn off and suddenly just not give a damn about what everyone else thought about me and my outfit and my weight and my hair. I wish I could make the harsh and critical voices I hear in my head just disappear because most of the time the loudest voice in my head being harsh and critical is my own. I wish I could wake up one morning and suddenly just be at peace with myself. And that going out to do something like take family pictures, is just be a fun activity of making memories together.

It's been hard for me to post some of these pictures. I spent that afternoon staining Todd's shirt with my mascara as I cried and cried. Because I thought I looked awful. Because we couldn't get Tommy to cooperate. Because it rained after being there for 15 minutes and we had to leave. Because I thought he hated going there and having to take pictures with me and Tommy. Because it wasn't nearly as fun as I had conjured up in my head. Because it just wasn't PERFECT!

As I've gone back over some of the photos of the day, I've tried to offer myself some grace and kindness. To maybe see something different than just what I looked like or how we couldn't get Tommy to smile for the camera and get some all perfect photo that I wanted to have.

Our lack of "perfect" pictures is evidence that maybe we just let Tommy be the wild little boy that he is. We didn't force him to sit in any pictures - we just let him be a kid.
And in the letting him be a kid, he invites to remember laughter and silly.
That being playful and light-hearted and not-so-serious is way more important to us and our little family than appearing that we're perfect and we've got it all together.
In all of the not-so-perfect pictures, that day was evidence of a boy who knows he is loved by his dad.
And adored by his mama.
It wasn't what I was hoping for. No picture had it all and I'd be lying if I didn't say I was disappointed in how they turned out. I was disappointed in how I looked in them, how I can't hide my body the way I wish I could, how I couldn't force my son to sit still for five seconds for a picture - none of the pictures were "perfect." And it's OKAY.
Tommy could care less about what he looked like or what others thought of him. He was enjoying the day, making messes and glorying in them. He was playing and laughing and reminded me that's what we were really there for anyway.

I think maybe I have a lot to learn from him.


  1. these not so perfect pictures are normally some of my favorites...glad you were able to get some shots that reminded you of the incredible amounts of love that exist in your precious family!

  2. I love that first picture of the three of you. Family isn't sitting straight up and looking directly at the camera, family is the three of you playing together.

    And I thought you should know that I don't even remember who I was showing your blog to or why, but the person's first comment was, "Wow, she's pretty!" Just FYI for your Monday!

  3. Oh, you are such a wise, wise woman. My heart is feeling for you in your desire for perfection. So thankful for reminders that life isn't ever going to be perfect but that it will be perfectly okay!

    I love those pictures of you laughing!!! They have my vote!

    Tommy is such a little looker. :)

  4. I would definitely vote on one of the ones where you are laughing, and everyone is enjoying each other. 'Perfect' Christmas card photo!

  5. I love your pictures and I feel your pain about taking them with a two year old!!!! I think they are perfect!!! : ) Have a great week!

  6. I'm sorry the day didn't turn out like you hoped. It sounds like you've gotten some great perspective out of it, though!

    I'm working on writing out my photography philosophy today, so I have words like "unique" and "meaningful" and "genuine" running through my head. Kudos to you for realizing that your family is not like anyone else's; why should your portrait be?

    When I took Addie's 3 yr old portraits, she wouldn't look at the camera unless there was a gummy worm wrapped around the lens. :) Not one of my favorites has her looking directly at the camera. And that's okay!

    For what it's worth, I love that second shot of y'all!

  7. Most of the time things don't turn out like I'd like them to. I guess that's just part of life! I think your pictures are really cute anyways :) When he is older and you look back you'll remember how much of a cute little boy he was and those other feelings will most likely be gone :)

  8. I don't want perfect..I just want life with you two and to know that is ok....I am glad that we got to go there even if it was frustrating. I love you both..here is to more "not perfect"... Let's learn how to have fun and not care what people really think.

  9. "...or whatever it is that I'm wanting that "perfect" picture to say about us." Made me curious about what it is I want "looking perfect" to say about me.
    I love that Tommy is loved by his dad and adored by his momma. I love that the pictures look like life is being lived. They don't look forced and perfect; they look like family.
    -anna H

  10. For the record, I think the last two look pretty stinkin perfect. and if you had written a lovely post (albeit totally fake) about what a wonderful day it was and how much fun you had an only posted those two photos .... I would have been jealous of your beautiful family and lovely life. Thank you for being real and sharing the not "perfect" ones.

    Which, by the way, one of the verses in the bible about being "perfect" actually translates to mean "fulfilling it's purpose." i.e. the couch I'm sitting on is perfect because it is fulfilling it's purpose of keeping me off the ground and in a sitting, semi-upright position. These photos are EXACTLY perfect, they are serving their purpose to remind you of a time with your family, fun with your little boy being a little boy, and another day to live and love.

  11. I think these photos are cute, even if they're not perfectly posed and immaculate. They're snapshots of who your family is NOW.
    Also, your son is completely adorable. :)

  12. I can completely relate to desiring the "perfect" family pic, and a sweet little curious 2 year old wanting to do things her way! I do love how you coordinated all of your colors--they look great together, and your scarf seems to pull them all together!