Today was picture day for Colt. Can you even imagine the OCD control freakazoid I become on picture day? I mean…
A.) I’m not with them at school to straighten clothes, lick down hair, or wipe the last of their Capri Sun off of their mouths.
B.) I’m not taking the picture.
C.) Well…the stress of A and B are enough for a C.
I don’t even understand why they keep using the same company. The packages are astronomically priced. The backgrounds are old fashioned. The poses are boring. And there is always way too much space above the top of the head. So…I decided several years ago that I was not going to spend $30 times 3 on school pictures. I take enough pictures myself. It’s not like these childrens lives are not adequately photographically chronicled.
And don’t think for one second that I don’t feel guilty about it. Every time the packet information comes home and I send them to school without it filled out and a hefty check…I think,
“My poor kids. I know what the teacher and crappy photographer, whom I will never meet is thinking. How could these kids have such an unloving mother? How does she even live with herself? How could she not care enough about them to order school pictures? How does she even sleep at night?”
But…I found a solution.
Every year…on picture day…I make them endure a home “session.”
Because it was Colt’s first official year in Jr. High…I did go ahead and order the $13 “loser” package that got us 1 3.5 X 5 and 8 stupid wallets. I didn’t know the drill up there. And I didn’t want an uncomfortable situation for him in the gym…like the crappy picture guy saying over the loud speaker,
“Colton is up. Although…what’s the point because his mother didn’t order any.”
I know enough not to set him up for any embarrassing situations like that.
(And let’s just humor me for a second and say that this little situation is a realistic one and worthy of my worry. And my $13 package order.)
But…because I’m not one to break tradition…
here is my little man.
On picture day. 7th Grade.
I absolutely adore this age. He is restoring my faith in Jr. High. The other day, he and I drove to the outlet mall to look at shoes. We were laughing and joking and he saw a Starbucks up ahead. I hope I never forget the moment that he looked at me and said,
“Can I buy you a Starbucks?”
Yes you can, son.
As I have parented over the years…I have found that my relationship with the kids changes from stage to stage. Sometimes…and I can only be honest…I find myself thinking,
“I love this kid…but Lawd help me…I don’t like him/her very much right now.”
And I hate those stages. The ones when they are hateful…or smart elic…or disobedient. The ones where you find yourself fighting with them and arguing and pulling your hair out. The ones where you go to bed wondering if they felt loved…in spite of the discipline. The ones that make you feel inadequate.
But I’ve learned that those phases will ebb and flow into the phases where you marvel at their maturity…their kindness…their growth. The ones that make your heart sing and swell with pride in who they are. The ones that bring the emotions that you felt when you first met eyes in the delivery room come flooding back to the surface. The ones that make the potty training and tantrums and “I hate you’s” fade to the black where they belong…because if God can forget our fails when we ask him his forgiveness…then it’s only natural for mamas to forget too. The ones when your oldest son will buy you a cup of coffee…and God gives you a sneak peak into the man he is going to become…and you realize that it’s His little way of saying,
“Child. You are doing okay here…with these kids I have entrusted you with; my children…whom I have given you control of. You are doing O.K. Just look who we are, together, forming him to be. It’s amazing…no?
Yes Father. It is amazing. And thank you. Thank you so very much.