Today was photo day at my kids’ school.
This strikes me as a highly antiquated tradition, because we live in an age where I can - unequivocally - capture a more beautiful moment, a more honest picture of my kids as they are getting ready for school than can be snapped while sitting on a swivel stool in front of an encyclopedia background.
That said, I totally get that this is really a way of measuring time and marking our place in it. So this morning as we were finishing up our breakfast burritos at the family table, I told them this morning I wanted them to wear what made them feel like themselves for photo day.
Why? Because I really believe that if we’re going to capture a moment in time to mark our space in it, then it had better be real. And real in our family is that these kids have been dressing themselves and choosing their own clothes since they were two. Real is that they may start the day with a braid, clip, or ponytail, and that by 10:30 am their hair will be wild and blonde like their mom’s. Real is that we gave up matching socks in 2013, and power clashing patterns is the new black for anyone under seven who lives here.
And so, as they went to school amongst the polished shoes, the tulle dresses, the clip on ties for boys, and the slick backed hair that just walked out of a Dippity Do (circa ’86) commercial, my kids got out of the car looking like them. In leggings and t shirts and sparkly jelly shoes that still smell like grapes, with a blue plaid shirt tied around the waist. Really, truly, authentically them.
I want my girls’ lives to be dictated by a strong sense of self, a strong sense of belonging to who they are, at every turn. And I want them to feel comfortable in their own skin, inhabiting who they truly are, no matter what the requisite photo-to-grandparents has demanded in the past. I just want them to be “them.”
And when we get these pictures back, I’ll be happy to hold on to them only for the sake of looking back on them down the road, remembering exactly what this time in our lives looked and felt like.
And in the meantime, I’ll send grandparents the one of my girlies getting ready for school.