Picture day at school was upon us. I wetted, parted, and carefully combed three heads of hair.
I allowed each child to choose their own outfits. There is no picture so great as when someone is comfortable and happy in their clothes. We’ve learned from experience.
Liam, in a shocking turn of events, reached past his pile of cherished Lego Star Wars t-shirts and dug a collared shirt out of his drawer then proceeded to button it all the way up to his chin. Addi donned her Easter dress from last year. Elli opted for a more rocker-chic look with a puffy skirt and sparkly shirt accessorized with a necklace and some colored ponytail holders she wore as bracelets. I cocked my head a bit at Elli, but she has her very own sense of style so I let it go.
I slowly walked everyone to the bus hoping their hair would stay in shape long enough for school pictures to happen.
That afternoon as Elli got off the bus, the first thing I noticed was that she had given herself ponytails. They were ratty, ragged, uneven, and it looked like she had just been through a knock-out drag down tussle and lost. I laughed and asked her if she had put those ponytails in herself, to which she beamingly replied “uh huh!”
Not until after dinner that night did something strike me and all of a sudden I put 2 and 2 together.
“Hey Elli, did you put your own ponytails in BEFORE or AFTER you had your school picture taken?”
Her totally excited, proud, and chipper response: “before! I even tilted my head like this and smiled like this so my picture would be SO. CUTE.”
I kept my emotion hidden, but later told Dan about what had happened. He laughed and said, “well, there are always re-takes, right?”
Last week the proofs came home. I prepared myself to pull the pictures out of the envelope and keep my face straight and my comments kind no matter what I saw.
Here’s what I pulled out:
First of all, kudos to the photographer for brilliantly posing her so perfectly so that the hair issue is practically unnoticeable.
Secondly, I’m realizing more and more that no matter how hard I might try to control things, my kids are who they are, they do what they do, and what will be will be. And instead of getting uptight and upset about things, I’m more often realizing that things turn out a whole lot cuter with a sweet memory attached than they would have had everything gone according to MY master plan.