If you know me, I am always with a device that will let me take a photo. I am always ready to share those photos too, in fact, my Facebook page is more about my kids than me. And, each year I love taking family photos to treasure the stage/age that my kids are in, and it's also a nice way to have at least one set of photos a year with ME IN THEM.
This year was no different, except that I've got a smokin' body thanks to a boot camp that I've been doing for the last five weeks and I wanted to show that off in some photos. As we got ready the morning of the pictures, my boys understood that this was important to me and that I wanted them to cooperate, smile nicely and be good. That however, was the exact opposite of what they did. Between the sassy, crying, mouth open, tongue out, fit throwing faces, I ended up with not a SINGLE photo of all of us smiling. Which is all I wanted.
In the car I deleted about 30 photos right off the bat because they were horrid, and then, I started to cry (after a long tantrum where both of the boys were screaming). When we pulled in the drive way, Eric suggested that I go inside, I guess he was going to talk to the boys. When they came in, they both had long, shameful faces and came right up to my legs. Instead of saying "sorry", which is what I assume they were instructed to do, they looked at me and asked for a snack. I was livid, but calmly said, "No. I am not going to get you a snack. I do things for you all day long, every day of the week and when I asked you to do one thing for me today, you decided not to. So no. I will not get up and get you a snack." They just looked at me. They didn't know what to think, and I know they didn't know what to do to fix it, so they just left the room. I only kind of felt bad.
Yes, I understand that they are only 3 1/2 years old and almost 22 months old, but I also know they know how to follow directions and smile. I think it was so important to me because I am always the one taking the photos, so there are not very many of me, and I want them to remember when they are older, or when I die, that I was around and was doing these fun things with them. And maybe they will remember it, but I wanted the pictures for them too. And yeah, I also wanted a photo of me where I looked good!
Later that day, after I had cooled off, I looked at the photos again. I just started laughing. I'm not thrilled with the no smiling pictures (but I did send one or two photos off to a friend to see if he could swap faces because both boys smiled at some point, just not together) but I realized that these photos completely capture my life as it is today, and isn't that what I set out to do when I set up the photo shoot?
My life is overflowing with lovely, active, and carefree boys. They disobey and feed off of one another, but they are almost always having fun. They are truly living life to the fullest and being who they are. Sure, they didn't follow directions then, and they don't always, but they do when it matters and that's all I can ask for. They are sensitive, caring, loving, and genuinely good humans. I am absolutely tired by the end of the day because they have giggle fests during nap time, they destroy a room in a matter of seconds, "swim" (create a flood zone) in the bathtub, and have been known to take chalk to my floors, but they are being creative, testing, and figuring out life and all of it's consequences (and rewards).
When I really think about it, and see other children my kids play with, I think about how my kids are a billion times more wild than their peers, but I'd rather have these experimenting, exploring, adventuring, engineers than kids that just follow directions, don't test boundaries or try to really live life.
While the pictures didn't turn out like I'd hoped, they actually turned out perfectly. And, I will proudly hold on to these photos forever (to show them when their boys run amok during their photo shoots) and to remind me how lucky I am to have boys like them. So, as we approach Thanksgiving, and I sit back and think about what I am going to say I'm thankful for during our Thanksgiving feast, I will remember this weekend and how I am truly thankful for the family and the boys that are in my life... even if they are wild and stick out their tongues in photos that will last a lifetime.