Today is school picture day at my kids’ respective institutions of learning, also known as National Pretend We Have Our Shit Together Day.
Because we totally don’t. Have our shit together, that is.
Have you ever noticed just how crappy school picture day actually is? I mean, in theory, I enjoy having professional (term used loosely here) photos of my kids to hang on my wall and pass out to relatives who really don’t care, but the reality of getting these pictures is less than ideal.
For one, these damn things cost an arm and a leg. I can’t believe in this age of digital everything, school picture companies can get away with charging so much. I almost want to dress my kids up on a weekend, stand them in front of a throw-blanket backdrop, take a couple shitty pictures with my smart phone, print them off at Walmart, and call it a day.
But I can’t. (I know because I tried to submit one such photo to the yearbook. No takesies.)
Instead, I have to take out a second mortgage in order to purchase a package of equally shitty pictures that won’t arrive until after Thanksgiving — a package that comes in booklet form, requiring me to cut the pictures out myself, a task that inevitably leads to a stray scissor slice over one of the 9-trillion-dollar 5 x 7s I purchased for the kids’ grandparents. (Because I’m too cheap to go for the 8 x 10s. Are those things coated in gold or something? Because at that price, they should be.)
Also? I have to make my kids look presentable, which really means I have to make them look like they own something other than raggedy t-shirts and basketball shorts. I know I bought them each a shirt with a collar at some point in the last year, I find myself thinking as I frantically search their clothing drawers. Ah! Here’s one! AAAND it has permanent booger stains on it. PERFECT.
And then there’s trying to ensure they get through the part of their day leading up to the actual pictures without wearing half their breakfasts and morning snacks on their faces and shirt fronts and in their hair.
“Can you please TRY to eat over your plates and wrappers and to use that nifty invention called a napkin instead of your sleeves until you’ve had your pictures taken?” I beg. “You can face paint yourselves with your peanut butter sandwiches at lunch time for all I care. Just save the artistry for the afternoon.”
Finally, there’s getting them to smile. One year, Ewing was just about another three seconds away from having a code red meltdown in his picture while Alister looked as though his lips had been sewn shut just prior to the photo shoot. (And I hung those motherfuckers on the wall anyway, biotches. After what I paid for the suckers, those kids could have been taking a dump on each other’s heads and I would have passed ’em out at Christmas.) But now, I find myself coaching them the morning of.
“Show me what kind of smile you’re going to give the photographer today, guys!” I cheer, at which point they flash me their handsomest grins.
And then when the pictures finally arrive?
I give up.