But this is how the Christmas card photo situation actually goes down: Your children hate the outfits you've chosen for them to wear. They stage a full blown protest by refusing to get dressed, and when you somehow finally convince (bribe?) them into their clothes, they sit all hunched over in sulky misery and complain for three hours straight. When you choose the backdrop, an outdoor scene near a fragrant evergreen lightly dusted in fresh snow, you forget to take into consideration the glare of the sunlight. The bright beams pierce the eyes of your photosensitive child like daggers and have him squinting and writhing in every camera shot, while his brother engages in ape-like antics beside him trying to get a laugh. You beg and yell and cry and cajole and snap 548,982,347 photos with your camera, hoping that one, just one, of them might be passable enough to print and mail out, all the while knowing that the chances of this are about one in a billion. (Someone please tell me this sounds familiar so I can feel just a tiny bit better about my years of challenges in this department!?)
This year, as December approached, I found myself dragging my feet when it came time to organize the Christmas card photo shoot. I wondered if it was still necessary, now that the boys are older, to subject all three of us to the high level drama that was sure to unfold in the process. Did our family and friends really want or need a picture of the boys in their Christmas card this year? I decided that yes, they probably still did.
But I had an aha! moment late last week: why not let the fourteen and eleven year old boys take charge of their own photo this year? Surely it wouldn't be a stressful exercise for me if I mostly stayed out of it, right? I asked them to choose their own outfits, style their own hair, and even take their own photo, selfie style. They accomplished all of this wonderfully, and I was just about to dance about with joy and relief until I realized that because of their height differences, the best photo the boys took together had Will cut off at the neck, which he didn't really like.