A Random Image

Jett Superior laid this on you on || January 19, 2002 || 3:36 pm

I turned to Maxim as we were speeding down the highway toward the inevitable.

“There’s no way we’re gonna pull this one off,” I stated, “We are not the snazzy picture of your average whitebread, middle-class American family.”

“We’re just not.” He gives me that look. I raise my eyebrows, pooch out my lips, shrug my shoulders and look out of the rain-spattered windshield.

After a few moments I turn to look at the row of perfectly-coiffed heads in the back seat. Anyone who didn’t know better could confuse them for well-kempt angels. I begin to laugh. Scout and Maxim, in unison, ask the question that’s hanging there.


“We are such dorks,” I caw, “with our color-coordinated sweaters and our plasticene hair!” snort-snort and my eyes begin to water, threatening to tear up and well over with the hilarity.

Sam smiles, and not just because Mummy is going temporarily insane. He smiles because he gets it. He and I are on the same wavelength.

“Yeah, Scout,” Sam says, “Maxim should be wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt and jeans, Mathias should be wearing just underwear and one sock and you should be wearing every piece of ugly plastic jewelry that you own!”

He’s right, and I loathe Family Portrait Day with an unbridled passion. This fact is evident in that most of the pictures strewn about our home in frames of all shapes and sizes are those of the “QUICK!-Take-that-picture!” nature. They range from 2″x3″ in size on up to 16″x20″ and show evidence of varying landscapes and moments in our own little history. There is Mathias, little bald-headed 6-month-old chubster in denim overalls and no shirt perched on a wrought-iron love seat. There is me and Maxim, on a trek through the woods, perched atop a large stone outcropping, loosely strung up in one another’s arms. There is a close-up of Scout’s little cherubic face, wearing the sweetest of smiles while her blue eyes sparkle with 5-year-old cleverness. There is Sam looking somberly into the camera while wearing his navy blue Easter suit…..we couldn’t coax out his easy, age-three grin because “I look like a businessman, mom, and businessmens don’t smile.”

Some of these photos are color, some black-and-white, some painstakingly hand-tinted, but they all are delicious and all have one thing in common: all five members of our family unit are never in them, because someone had to be taking the picture, right?

Maxim’s grandmother, all 85 years of her, has made one request for Mother’s Day.

“I byGod want a family portrait of ya’ll this YEAR.” And, recalling times past when we haven’t delivered, she called up one of the finest photographers in our area and used her plastic to pay the sitting fee. What we purchase after that is up to us.

We had to go, because if we didn’t, her credit card would still be charged. I reluctantly set about finding us all coordinating outfits from the depths of our closets and came up with the universal khakis. We all somehow own sweaters with some kind of combination of gray, blue and navy, so those won. I knew from the outset that I didn’t want a super-formal image of the five of us, because that’s not our personality as a family and also because I dress the kids to the nines once a year in order to wag them down to the studio for a sitting.

I hate Family Portrait Day because it all falls to me to make sure everyone is scrumptiously represented and one child doesn’t muss their hair or apparel while I am working my stylistic mojo on the other(s). Throw in the fact that I have to render myself presentable and answer lame questions from Maxim about sock colors and I am a shrieking basket case by the time I hit the door, hairbrush in hand.

I think that I forgot to mention that it started raining about five minutes prior to our departure. HARD.

So now we are all rain-speckled and a tad wilted. Lovely. Thus my fit of hilarity.

I hate Family Portrait Day, but that’s okay, because I will have yet another lovely picture on my wall that suspends us sweetly in the moment, attached to yet another set of remembrances about a brief span of moments that we shared as a family.

And one day it will belong to my children, and then maybe their own children, and the thought of it shines inside of me.

Nobody worked it out »

Don´t be shy. Lay it on me.

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