It is a high priority in our family to get a family picture every year for the Christmas letter. Growing up, this meant pictures of my sister and I sitting or standing calmly next to each other with smiles on our faces. For those of you that know me, you now realize how much of a struggle this was…for my mom.
As a child, I was near incapable of sitting still, let alone smiling well for a long period of time. Then pair that together with how much my mom loved having us match for those pictures. And of course, I decided that I hated it. Matching pink and purple overalls, matching dresses, dresses in general, denim on denim (we were those kids in the 90’s…the original hipsters), and one year when I was being a particular pain to my mother, she even let me bring my lion puppet into the picture as a compromise. Let’s just say I wasn’t the easiest child ever.
Year after year, the battle continued. This was also in the days of 35mm film. We only had a set number of opportunities to get the shot. I didn’t quite understand the value of money (or let’s be real…I didn’t understand it at all…) or how it would have been a quicker process to smile nicely when asked. I was determined to make these pictures my own. If I had $1 for every time I’ve heard “Joy – open your eyes!” or “Joy – stop looking like a cartoon!” I’d be rich enough to buy mom new film for every roll I littered with my creative faces. I’ve found myself unable to get free from this skill. I still feel really weird when asked to pose for a “normal” picture. And now, the genes have passed down to my nieces. So…maybe I came by it honestly?