Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Post in Which I Reveal My Christmas Card Neurosis. (I am a Crazywoman.)

Below is the actual text of an actual email I sent to my dear friend Carrie in late October about the (over)production of our Christmas card picture.  

I might add that she completely understood this entire thing, and while she may not go through the same mechanizations, she empathized with me and did not send back a reply saying, "YOU ARE A CRAZY WOMAN. Please stop emailing me all your craziness."  And I love her for that.

We got a lot of very kind compliments on our Christmas card, to which which I breezily answered, "Oh! Thanks so much!" and quickly changed the topic.  But because this is 2014, and I have a blog, and I share a lot of things here, I thought my faithful readers would appreciate a good laugh.

Here you go:

Anyway, I have a great story to tell you and you will SOOO appreciate this.  I had the brilliant idea a few weeks ago to call the lady who took our Christmas card picture last year (along with wonderful pics of our whole family, including my dad) and have her take pics of my kids here, outside in the fall spendor of leaves and pumpkins and gauzy sunlight and all things harvest-y.  I have not gotten any professional pics done all year and really, this lady is only $65 for a home visit and she does great work.  

So I agonized about whether to have them wear casual wear or more dressy, should I have seperate pics done of Jenna in the Janie and Jack dress (this was before she nixed it) then should I reschedule her for after Thanksgiving when our house is decorated for Christmas, wouldn't that be great to have a beautiful, properly-lit picture of our tree and the kids and mistletoe but would I get it in time? And what about the early bird specials that tiny prints runs- if I waited until December I'd miss them... but could I fit in a time after school to have the photographer come over? Michaela just started rehearsals for the school play she's in and Jenna got her expanders put in today and I was pretty certain she wouldn't feel like doing a photo shoot while all her teeth felt like they were going to fall out.  And oh my God all of our leaves are almost off the trees and now my harvest scenes are starting to look kind of... barren.  So after all of this agonizing- to which Dan said, "Just have her come in December and do a Christmas picture..." (SIMPLETON!! LIKE ITS THAT EASY!!)- I figured out that basically yesterday afternoon was the ONLY DAY before December I could get the pics done.
So it was scheduled and I started looking on tiny prints to see what orientation of picture would fit into the cards that I liked.  They have really nice pictures in their card samples and a few I found I liked just because the picture was so stylized.  So I got this idea in my head of my children, in coordinating sweaters/shirts-we went with a navy/ gray/ touch of red plaid theme- sitting down with fallen leaves scattered about them, filtered sunlight kissing thier hair and making them look like shining angels.  

Can you see how this is escalating out of control????
I realized in horror that this entire plan rested on a sunny day yesterday. 

 I am embarrassed- truly- to tell you- and I tell you EVERYTHING- how often and how hard this weekend I prayed to the Good Lord Jesus Christ that it would be mild temps and sunny at 5pm yesterday.  

Yes, I realize Christians are being horrifically persecuted around the world; people are enduring hunger, fires, aching poverty, profound loss of loved ones, and indescribable physical and emotional pain, and here I am in Delmar, praying, "Oh SWEET Jesus! PLEASE have it be sunny on Monday so my children look BEAUTIFUL IN OUR CHRISTMAS CARD!!" over and over and over again.
My anxiety level about this whole thing was so high by Monday morning- which, I might add, was a gorgeous sunny day- that I was thoroughly disgusted with myself.  But I couldn't stop. I was waaaay too far in at this point.  

I picked up Jenna from school, had her take a shower, had wrangled Alec into the shirt I wanted him to wear before school started for him, had Michaela start primping as soon as she came home from school at 3pm, blew dry Jenna's hair, flat ironed both girls, wet down Alec's hair one more time, did light makeup on both girls, and we were ready just in time for the photographer to pull up in the driveway.
The hilarious part was watching my girls, who clearly thought these pics were very likely to be published in VOGUE magazine, AT LEAST, spin around tree trunks, wink at the camera, toss their (very straight) hair around coyly, and generally ham it up like they were seasoned models.  Alec prefered to be goofy, throwing his one leg up in the air while she was taking a picture or run in front of his sisters while they were posing, which drove them crazy.
About three quarters of the way through, the kids stood underneath a yellow-leaved tree that the sun was shining on and they were being lit from behind, and she took a pic of Alec and then showed me the shot in the viewfinder, and I am not exaggerating when I say it was so beautiful and exactly what I was dreaming about and he looked so handsome and old (my BABY!!) and dreamy that I literally stopped breathing and bent over and thought I was going to hyperventilate.  Or fall down on the ground and pass out.
Woudn't that have just capped off the whole experience?
I felt great pleasure in the fact that today was freezing and raw and rainy and gloomy all day, and Jenna lost a tooth last night so her smile is kind of gappy, and her expanders were put in this morning and she was a trooper but her mouth is all out of whack. 
I CONQUERED this Christmas card photo shoot and all of its intricacies, and I feel like a total idiot. 

And I'm exhausted.  And I'm thinking that if I can handle the embarrassment, this would be a great blog post for my kids to read when they have children of their own.  I'll have to think about that one.

So you see, Michaela, Jenna and Alec, the lengths I went through to make sure a beautiful picture of you all is sent out to the world each year?  Do you see the time and energy and worry that went into it?  

It's all done out of love.  
And pride. 
And craziness.


Anonymous said...

I recall my quest for the perfect Christmas picture of my two angels-I took an ENTIRE roll of film (36 pics) to find THE PERFECT picture! Remember the one where you and Brian were in Plattsburgh and you had your leg in an odd position? You are not crazy at all! I totally "get" your quest! Love, Mom

Claudia said...

The pictures turned out very nice! They were worth all the trouble you went through. And Cheryl: You sure got some pretty/handsome children!