The Family Picture


We started planning early. And, by we, I really mean she. My sister, bless her heart, handled all kinds of tricky organizing and communications to make it happen.


My brother and his family would be in town over Christmas. It was the perfect time to get a picture of all fifteen of us. The last family photo we’d had done was in the summer of 2008, before G. had joined the group.


The scheduling of the photo session spiralled into a big ol’ challenge. Christmas week is a busy one, with Christmas, Christmas Eve, C’s birthday, my sister’s anniversary, and my sister-in-law’s birthday. This is also Connecticut, so the forecast can become an issue. On top of that, while many of us were off for the whole week, my husband’s and my father’s jobs did not have week-long breaks, so we had to schedule around that.


There were many, many phone calls. Between my sister and I. Between my sister and the photographer. We discussed wardrobe, setting, timing, and more. Finally– finally– things seemed pretty set.


And then we saw the forecast.


Snow was coming and we had to decide what to do. Should we try it? What else could we do? Would we even be able to find a different time everyone could be there? We decided to go for it. Worth a shot, right?


It snowed like mad. The parking lot was slick. If I’m honest with you all, there were some grumbles and complaints heard among the masses. But, at the end of it all, that’s not really what I remember…


I remember the laughter.


I remember cracking up as snow layered thick on our hair. I remember watching my husband and brother-in-law help haul a red couch right out into the forest in the middle of the blinding white. I remember my children laughing big belly laughs when the photographer teased them and encouraged them to goof off, play, and, yes, stand on the couch.



I remember collapsing damply in the car after, my cheeks aching from the smiles I couldn’t control.


I remember all fifteen of us pouring into a tiny pizza place and stuffing our bellies with pizza and, in a couple of our cases, beer.


The kids had their own table and they were an absolute joy to watch. The waitress brought them lollipops and was charmed when mine made sure they had eaten well before accepting one.


I remember singing loudly in the car on the way home while the kids sat in a bit of a food- and cousin-coma.


We could have had the picture done in a studio someplace. It would have no doubt been simpler.


But I’m so glad we didn’t.


Was it perfect? No. But neither are we.


Was it fun? Oh, yes. And we are that.


Family pictures should be about capturing memories. What a joy to make one in the process.

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