Friday, June 28, 2013

B. S.

Let's talk about this.
Omg we're the most adorable family ever. Mitch and I never fight, Dot is always happy, and it's always sunny in Cincinnati. And none of us ever poop.

Growing up, my family never had family photos taken. We have no documentation that any of us ever dressed all matchy-matchy and smiled all at the same time. Mitch's family, on the other hand...

Oh yeah.
I feel like family photos, and most photos that we post online for that matter, are total, blatant, glaring, color-coordinated lies. We post when we're looking our best through filters and natural light and hair cuts (or eyebrow trims in Mitch's case). I try to avoid posting too many pictures like that because I think they're a little self-indulgent. My selfies are rare and mostly selfie-deprecating (see what I did there?). I leave myself tagged in the most unflattering of photos as a practice in humility. But, admittedly I swell a little when I think my baby looks really adorable, or I think I look pretty in a photo. What can I say? I'm your average insecure and slightly self-absorbed aging hipster.

Anyway, you know what really happened the day of family photos? Crying.

And teething.

And general judginess.

Not to mention Dot caught mouth herpes from kid at daycare, and the photographer (the talented Agnes Kindberg) had to edit a big crusty herp derp sore out of every photo (she did a great job, non?!). And this was the third time we had scheduled to take photos, because she had croup the first time we were scheduled, and it was raining the second.

I guess my feelings are that family photos are kind of dangerous, particularly in the current era. The world of pinterest and instagram and facebook have ignited in first-world inhabitants a need to portray our lives and the humans in them in a flawless light. It invites comparison, reaching, and envy. I'm guilty of it. I see an instagram of someone's breakfast in bed, and I grumble to myself Mitch never brings me breakfast in bed grumble grumble. I feel validated when people like a flattering photo of me. I even stole several ideas for this photo shoot from a friend who is a lot more creative than I, because I wanted my family to look as cute as hers did.

I'm just saying, I want to remember the imperfections of that day as well, if only to maintain realistic expectations. Our lives are so very rarely easy and smooth, but we prefer to document those milliseconds when they are. And I don't want people to be annoyed at me for trying to be convincing. I (tell myself I) don't have anything to prove, and I want people to see our reality as a family. Our reality is dust bunnies and store-bought baby food and nursing strikes and overgrown lawns and arguments about clipping fingernails. But we love each other, and we work hard at it. So since no one is there to take photos when we're happiest, I guess we have to recreate it later. Then when we're old and our hairy places have switched with our bald places, we'll look at these photos and someone will yell at me for picking out these ridiculous outfits.
I forgot to mention smugness. That also happened.