A Portrait of Imperfection

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There is an unwritten rule in parenthood: Crisis doesn’t occur until Picture Day. Really. Ask any parent and they will tell you a story. This year, it seems, we could not escape the curse.

“Now don’t worry, but I want you to be aware…”

I dread when my husband prefaces a story involving our children in this way.

But before I could reply, I spotted it: a pink mountain of flesh had filled the entire space between my daughter’s eyes.

And this is how a mosquito sabotaged our little girl’s first school photo.

I think imperfection is what leads us to remember the moments we capture in time. Take my first school photo, for example. My hair had never been cut. Who knew that I would inspire Meg Ryan in the years that followed?

Or consider my first grade picture. ALL eyebrows. I still don’t know why I looked so surprised.

But perhaps most memorable of all was my third grade picture. That morning I woke up in our pastor’s home. My father had been at my mother’s side all night in a hospital over an hour away.

Cancer.

When I was eight years old, I wore a red and black polka-dot dress that was too small for Picture Day. I didn’t consider the wrinkles when I hurriedly shoved it into my overnight bag. All I could think of was Mom. Who would help me with my hair?

Ironically, it is the only school picture I have not been able to locate in adulthood.

We couldn’t afford prints that year.

Everything, of course, comes full circle. Picture Day is now stress that I get to internalize. But what have I really learned if I don’t carry gratitude?

Gratitude for two precious children – who get to wake up in their own beds, who get to have both parents prepare them for a special picture.

And perhaps no one will appreciate the mosquito bite moment more than Grandma.

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