My friend, Kay, often says: “There’s nothing like a deadline to get ya moving!”
Christmas is a deadline….and a Family Christmas photo is another deadline all together!
We’ve been one of those families that waits until the last possible moment to take those precious, organized, and clothes-coordinated family photos. I lay out the clothes, get the kids all-done-up and pose somewhere randomly in the house or outside in the freezing, blowing weather. We sit huddled together for warmth, smile and snap some photos.
Then it’s back into the house to edit, crop and airbrush to perfection. A not-so-quick trip to Wal-Mart brings us into close proximity with other last-minute, crazy people, who are printing out their family photos as well.
My kids are put to work at home, filling out addresses, signing cards and writing in greetings. It all makes for a very joyous time of year…with no stress added at all.
But this year is going to be different! I say this in faith, believing it can and will be better this year.
It’s already better because here I am, a week before Thanksgiving and the photos are done!
My good friend, Amanda, offered to help this poor, frazzled soul through the holiday season. She’s more organized when it comes to these things. She reminded me of how we tend to wait until the last possible moment, sit in the freezing cold and pluck icicles from our nose hairs. She saved me from this undue stress by giving me the tasks of only organizing the outfits, scheduling haircuts and getting them all to the photo shoot. Easy as pie!
And this Christmas she took our photo. Did you catch that…”took.” That means it’s already done, completed, finished!!
Yet something strange and crazy happened with this photo session that hasn’t happened with the others. We were relaxed and not frazzled. We weren’t pressed with the time crunch of the looming deadline. Instead, I slowed down and took it all in…maybe a little too much.
We started the photo session with the whole family, Della and all. We started out well, but the other dogs in the park were too much of a distraction for sweet Della and her attention went elsewhere…away from the photo lens and onto those other dogs. It just wasn’t going to happen for her or us. So back to the van she went to hang with Dave while the kids had their individual photo’s taken.
And that’s when it all started to fall apart for me.
Here I was watching these kids…these teenagers…nearly grown-up’s… posing, laughing and looking…well….all-too-grown-up!
What happened here??? Weren’t these the ones I just held in my arms…rocked at night and watched over as they would sleep and dream?
Weren’t these the ones that just yesterday set on the curb and pondered up money-making schemes to save the trees the neighbors were cutting down across the road?
These were the ones who created their own Dandelion Supply Business and sold “weeds’ to our church members….These were the ones who played their days away through adventure and pretend.
They once talked dinosaurs, dolls, and dandelions… now it’s college, careers and the Congo.
They’re growing up and there’s no way for me to stop it.
- She once walked her doll stroller around the block, now she drives the van to work.
- He used to reach up for me to take him in…now he stands taller than me and I have to look up at him.
- Her face, shy and quiet, once hid behind my legs….now she bubbles over, inviting others in with her enthusiasm and laughter.
All those deadlines I pushed them to meet …get up, get dressed, get in the car, get your coat, tie your shoes, go to the bathroom, go to bed….go…go…go!
Now the deadlines are college applications, testing dates and driving permits.
For these deadlines, can’t we push them back a bit? Can’t we slow time down?
I hear the older moms…”Enjoy these moments, they go so fast.” And I tried….I really did.
When I was frustrated and annoyed, I’d tell myself, “Someday I’ll miss this…” though I’m not sure I will ever miss stepping on Lego’s in the dark with my bare feet.
So those moments of photos weren’t just me meeting the deadline or beating the rush of the holiday crunch. Instead I pondered in silence, took them in, and whispered thanks…Thanks to God for these lives that are becoming and opening up right before my eyes.
NOTE: This is not the official Christmas family photo….that is coming later! This is just one of the amazing photos from Amanda at Amanda J Coombs Photography