It was so much easier when I picked our holiday photo myself. Sort of like when the kids were little, it was easier to brush their teeth and get them dressed then painstakingly oversee them do it themselves. But, we bit our lips and took deep breaths, fighting the urge to take over.
With Christmas cards I usually do take over, although this year I needed help. We had horrible photos. We attempted the Christmas Tree farm photo, but aside from looking too much like last year, this year was cold and windy. Wild hair camouflaged some faces while others had red noses and pursed lips. We went back to some beach photos from this summer, an attempt to get an early card out (lol). Sun glare, squinty eyes and more skin then I’m comfortable with shelved these the first time. Regardless, I put together a selection of scantily clad bodies from the summer and parka bundled figures from the tree farm in a group text for a family vote.
Of course, no one could agree. But surprisingly all sorts of photos started coming across the group text. There were shots of Emma as an extra from her summer jobs, Trescher offered shots of Pocomo being held by Rip (who knew), and then Lauren surfaced with a photo I remember taking, but never seeing. It’s not the best photo in the world, but the five of us are smiling, with a respectable amount of visible skin.
The photo is from Nantucket, in town, after dinner one night. The silent water mirrors the boat in the distance and the early evening color of the sky seems too perfect, as if we were photographed on a green screen and super imposed on the image. Almost certainly there was some sort of disagreement earlier, but in this moment, this perfectly calm moment, we’re all smiling for a nice stranger behind the lens of one of our phones.
Emma turned 20 on Thanksgiving day, (how is that possible?) and Lauren 18 in October, her first birthday away from home. Trescher is the tallest of us all, but remains the youngest at 13 and that makes me and Rip very happy. It’s awe inspiring and agonizing to watch them grow up. We want them to do and experience all they can, but need them to be safe and careful being adventurous. It’s a challenging balance. They surprise us with skills we didn’t teach them, (in addition to the tech support we count on) and teach us new things they’ve learned, (yes, many are phone related). We can’t say they do everything right, but nor do we.
We’re at the training wheels stage of life with the girls where we need to appreciate their abilities and individual spirit, intervene only when necessary and fight the urge to takeover. With Trescher, alone at home, its hard to resist taking over, but we’re trying. As long as we can find some time in the year where we’re all smiling, documented or not, it will be a good year.