As I dug through the Christmas box this morning retrieving a few mementos and decorations, I found a framed Christmas card photo of our younger family.
I can’t remember the exact year. My best “guess-timation” is 1998 or 1999.
Obviously, it’s been a long time since we had a family Christmas photo-shoot.
There’s a reason for this.
Family photo-shoots are agonizing. Deciding what to wear in order for everyone to color coordinate is just the tip of the iceberg. Then there’s the scheduling, the preparing, the travelling to the photo-shoot, the fussing over clothes, makeup and hair and the inevitable anger and tears that result.
The irony is not lost that we often tear our families apart trying to create a frozen moment of “family perfection.”
Our Christmas 1998/1999 family photo is no exception. The girls were upset. I accidentally burned Daughter A with the curling iron that morning. Daughter Bee didn’t want to wear her red dress. She wanted her blue dress. But the blue dress didn’t color coordinate, so there was a melt-down. We didn’t have time to each lunch before the photo-shoot, but I assumed it would be quick [I know — what was I thinking?!] and then we could grab a bite afterward. However, when we arrived to the studio the photographer was running behind so we had to wait..and wait.. and wait… and the family got hungrier and crankier. The photographer had boxes that were wrapped up as gifts strategically placed around us. Daughter Bee was originally posed next to a box. But, she didn’t want any of the boxes to touch her (she has sensory sensitivity) so eventually she was placed in front of the boxes. But, that meant the rest of us had been forced into rather uncomfortable positions, and Daugther B only told us later she had a heavy box that had been leaning on her leg and hurting the entire time.
In the end, we had our photo posed and taken. Everyone is smiling. None of the back-story is seen. We look “picture perfect.”
Elder Gary E. Stevenson recently spoke to a Women’s Conference about the positive and negative sides of social media. He explained how we often see perfect photos and think that everyone else except us has “the perfect life”.
This video segment is so PRICELESS! And you will quickly see why it had me laughing hysterically.
Let’s remember that everyone is imperfect, and every family is imperfect. We should stop comparing ourselves and our lives to others, and it’s OK to just embrace all the imperfections!
“If we must compare, let us compare how we were in the past with how we are today, and even with out we want to be in the future.”
And maybe… just maybe… I will have the courage to attempt another family Christmas photo shoot this year!