Nothing signals the beginning of the holiday season quite like taking pictures for our annual Christmas card! What should be a time for capturing all the love and joy of the season usually is a manic, frantic hour (if we're lucky) complete with eye rolls, huffing, puffing, sarcasm, and whining. The finished product never reflects that side. By the time it's been cropped and embellished with a little editing magic, I'd say it looks pretty Rockwell-ish.
Today was the day. I've had to keep rescheduling the shoot because of house guests and other commitments. That plus, I needed extra time to summon the patience of Job. I decided last week, that it would either happen this weekend or we wouldn't be sending cards this year. It takes a few minutes to upload and edit the pictures and order the photo cards; not to mention, addressing and mailing them. We're fast approaching the Dec. 1st postmark deadline that I impose on myself every year.
I had the kids wear their photo outfits to church. (Christmas colors in November? so what!) and we stopped at a park on the way home. It's a far cry from my original plan to schlep 40 minutes to the botanical garden, but I figured both backgrounds would have a lot of greenery--who cares?
As we parked, I gave my usual speech. "If you do what I'm telling you to do this will be quick. I know you don't want to do it, but I do a ton of things I don't want to do. It's either now or never." We didn't have our usual truckload of props (i.e. chairs, ladder, gift wrapped boxes, etc) so that made it a bit easier. I also wasn't really motivated or inspired to try any creative poses. However, I completely forgot what a struggle it is to take pictures with toddlers. Whoa! The big boys have been trained to keep their eyes open in the blazing sunlight, give a fake-natural smile, and interpret any other hand gestures that I flashed one-eyed from behind the lens. Baby Girl, on the other hand, spent the first 10 minutes wailing and clinging on to me for dear life. We had to give her a few minutes to warm up. Note to self: Don't try to do photo shoots during nap time. I snapped a ton and I'm sure I have at least one good one for the photo card.
Honestly I was a little disappointed that we bickered (again) over something instead of taking time to make a pleasant memory. We've all become very comfortable with letting each other know when we don't meet a certain standard. I'm not proud of that, but on the ride home I also acknowledged that I'm responsible for that tone and attitude. That attitude precedes other negative attitudes that lead us to the bickering. I've come up short in some areas and realize that I need to change my way of thinking.
I'm not the "Att-a-boy" type. I didn't grow up in that type of house. I was taught... do what you're supposed to do with or without acknowledgment or reciprocity, because you're supposed to, whether you like it or not. The end. Come to think of it, I don't even receive compliments well. While I appreciate them, I always feel awkward. But, I have to recognize that not everyone is wired the way that I am. I'm going to do an experiment (let's just hope I stick with it). For the next two weeks, I'm going to let my compliments outnumber my criticisms and critiques. I want to see what effect, if any it has on the atmosphere. The truth is, if a few att-a-boys change some att-a-tudes, then they will certainly be worth it!
Just wondering...Does anyone else stumble and fall right after the benediction?