I've been preparing Henry and Anna for weeks.....
"Guess what we're doing on Saturday? We're taking pictures for our holiday card."
I really didn't get too many objections from either Henry or Anna, but past experience made me afraid - - very afraid.
Why is it always so much easier to photograph someone else's family???
Generally, I must admit that Henry is pretty good about the whole "dress-up and pose" idea. But Anna - - well, she is completely hot or cold. And her mood can dictate e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.
So, the big day arrived (yesterday), and Anna happened to wake up at 6:30 a.m. - almost an hour and a half earlier than normal. (!!!!!) Clearly, that didn't bode well. And as expected, by 1:00 p.m., she was in tears over every little thing. I saw my plans unraveling. But, somehow the photo gods were in my corner. Anna was agreeable to a nap. Really, I can't remember the last time she took a nap at home, but she was asleep within 5 minutes. And just two hours later, we were dressed and ready for our adventure.
This time, despite all of my past Henry and Anna photo failures, I was determined to leave all of that baggage at home. We would just make it work. No matter what. To quote Anna's preschool teachers, "I'd get what I'd get and I wouldn't throw a fit."
And then, one more, very crucial piece fell into place. My dear husband made the mistake of uttering the words: "Do you want me to come along?"
I pounced! "Yes!! Really? Would you???"
"I was kidding." he said flatly, but he knew it was too late. There was no going back.
So, we headed off. (all of us!) I had scoped out my perfect spot in town. And yes, it was windy and a little cool and the sunlight was fading fast. But I was determined.....
Oh, um....one more thing. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should reveal the little surprise up my sleeve. Well - - in my pocket, actually....Twenty crisp one dollar bills. A little bait that turned out to be the icing on the photo cupcake. I promised the kids one buck for every five minutes of pictures taken without incident. I brought a timer, pronounced myself completely in charge, and offered the opportunity for instant gratification. Any resistance or complaints would result in the loss of a dollar.
Clearly, when it came to these pictures, I was not above bribery. And to my amazement, it worked like a charm. Despite one small wardrobe malfunction that nearly derailed everything within the first 5 minutes, it was perfect. PERFECT!!
Henry and Anna were my star models. They posed and played and listened and agreed to all of my crazy antics. The kids didn't mind when next-door pizzeria staff wandered in and out of our back-alley-studio. We changed clothes. We switched locations. Ray manned the mobile-photo-rest-station (mini-van), complete with non-messy snacks and heat. Geez, Anna even wore a hat that she absolutely despised. "Okay, I'll wear it," she said reluctantly, knowing her dollar depended on it.
Honestly, I was stunned. And I couldn't have been any more proud of my dear ones. They actually had fun!
And of course, the most beautiful part? I got the pictures. In particular, I got heart-melting shots of Henry and Anna together. I barely ever get those, and somehow - yesterday - I did. I was nearly in tears behind my camera. I finally got for myself what I have been giving to other families over and over this past year. My heart was bursting each time I snapped.
Best twenty bucks I ever spent.
So obviously, I can't wait to share. But, the photos are under wraps until my holiday card goes out. And now, the wonderful (and unexpected) dilemma: I figured I'd be lucky to get one good shot. Now I have dozens. Oh, what to do....
But, until I decide, here is my sneak peek.
Oh, be still my mama heart.....