I have a confession to make - I am a terrible procrastinator when it comes to getting our family portraits taken. Let’s be honest, it can feel overwhelming - you have to find a photographer, pick a time, make sure all the family members are available, find clothes that don’t clash, keep everybody clean and happy and THEN you have to hope that the weather behaves! Add on top of that the cultural expectation that your family portraits include everyone looking at the camera at the same time AND smiling - whew! It’s a lot! And sometimes you have to ask yourself...is it worth all the hassle?
Before we had Emma, I remember a time when I noticed that a family friend had a canvas of their family portraits on the wall and (because kids grow at insane rates) even though it was taken within the past year, their kids looked completely different! The baby was a toddler, the toddler was a little kid....life had changed for them. And I distinctly remember thinking “it’s almost not worth getting them taken, they change so fast!”
Fast forward 4ish years and I have my own kiddo and I can’t believe I ever said that. We have iPhones FULL of daily photos of Emma, because we just don’t want to miss a second! As parents, we know that we want to document those precious moments because they go by so quickly. We see numerous articles and blogs advocating for Mom to get in front of the camera. But when it comes to actually making it happen, it can be hard.
So I have to be transparent about these family portraits. I was overwhelmed and wishing I had lost 5 more pounds of baby weight (you know, 18 months later). Emma was tired and spent the moments between scarfing down Goldfish and fussing. Jeremy was cranky. It was chilly. And I selfishly just wanted some “good” portraits. God bless my sweet sister who was so patient with us and Lloyd who entertained Emma with Goldfish.
All of that to say...it was worth it. In spite of the occasional tears, the crankiness and the cold, we have portraits that capture our interactions during our "right now". To be honest, they help us remember both the joy and difficulty of this stage of life. It’s a reminder that just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. Just because raising a toddler is exhausting doesn’t mean that we don’t love it. There’s gladness and exhaustion in these portraits and I’ll remember the tears and the apologies along with the laughter and Goldfish. Because that’s a part of our life too.