Today is picture day – for Cheyenne. I am reminded of dozens of other picture days over the years – both my children’s and my own. Cheyenne picked out what she would wear this year for pictures with no consult from me, which is fine. I am on picture day probation anyway for all the times I thought I had the perfect picture day idea and was clearly wrong.
Picture days are not the same as they used to be. Back in the day when I was a kid, school photos were quite a big thing. You had your school photo and photos of big events, holidays and vacations and that was it. Now with digital cameras and cell phones with cameras the magic of the school photo seems to have worn off.
My mother dressed me for school photos all the way through sixth grade. Most of the efforts were disastrous. I know my mother had good intentions, but I can say now with photographic evidence that my mother dressed me funny. She loved to put me in dresses that were loud (perhaps to compensate for my profound shyness as a kid). A red plaid dress needs a certain amount of attitude to pull it off – you either have it or you don’t…I didn’t have "it".
Then there were the shoes. I had special shoes from the orthopedic kids’ shoe store and try as my mother did to find attractive variations for me – they just were not attractive. My strongest recollection is of the burgundy-reddish shoes with the pointy toes…they were the cutest of the lot, but still nothing short of hideous.
Finally, there was the hair…oh my. Every year it was something new, but it always involved those pink sponge curlers that are a pain to sleep in at night (and, I might add, a kid with not enough sleep does not make for the best photography subject). A couple of years I was close to a fro as a result of too many curlers coupled with too much teasing. And then there was the hairspray – by the time my mother was done my hair was like a helmet – gale winds would not have moved a single strand. Between the loud dresses, funky shoes and hair I looked like I was running away to be in the circus most years.
So, my school photos were not idyllic. Alas, knowing no other means by which to proceed as a young mother I traveled down a similar path with my children. I will say that not all of the efforts were disastrous, but there were pink curlers and hairspray – at least for the girls – and I did try and control the outfit selection. After years of effort and some trauma I learned a valuable lesson – kids who are happy with what they are wearing and how they look will express it outwardly in their photo, and it is – after all – all about the smile.
So Cheyenne picked her own outfit for picture day and may or may not wear a headband as I suggested. There will undoubtedly be a big smile on her face and ultimately that trumps all the pink curlers and hairspray efforts.
Day one hundred and eight of the new forty – obla di obla da