We recently had a family photo session. Actually, it was our first family photo session since we became parents. Neither my husband nor I am comfortable in front of a camera, and we don’t see the need to have a bunch of photos of ourselves.
But since I’m the official Bentley family photographer, I also want at least a few images of me with my children before they grow up.
Although we’re not formal people, I did attempt to pull together clothes that hadn’t seen a little too much action at the preschool paint station. I coordinated a location with the photographer and planned for every detail of the day, including outfit changes, snacks and injuries that could occur between soccer, photo session, park time and birthday parties. Full disclosure: I am a bit Type-A, but keeping up with active children and their schedules has magnified my ability to prepare for anything. Well, almost anything.
I neglected to take into account my 3 year old.
The photographer hadn’t taken more than five photos, and it was clear my youngest was going to run the show. Over-exaggerated smiles, wrestling matches with her sister, sucking her thumb, she did everything but cooperate for a nice family photo. We managed to survive 45 minutes and a lot of shutter snaps. I stopped trying to control her and just let her determine the locations of photos. As a journalist, I prefer candid shots but wanted at least one nice family photo we could use for Christmas presents. We left, frustrated and hopeful that the photographer captured at least a few images of the girls that we could use.
As soon as I saw the photos, I was reminded again that my children are teaching me as much as I’m teaching them. The best part of the photo shoot was my 3 year old. Her spirited personality came through in every shot and reflected her true beauty.
Life is busy. December is only a few days away, in a year that has already gone too quickly. My daughter’s simple act of rebellion has reminded me, at an even busier-than-normal time of year, that good things come when I learn to embrace what is and just be me.
Features Editor Brett Bentley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 530-477-4219.