Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pawns in the Picture

If pictures are worth a thousand words, there are at least a million stories in my house left undeveloped.

Yesterday we were getting ready for a party, wherein we were supposed to do none of the work. That meant we only got up at six to clean. While cleaning and decluttering,five fully shot undeveloped cameras were discovered.

After the party, I took the rolls to be developed.

Based on the results, we had a lovely time at my daughter’s fifth birthday, which was over a year ago. One camera was absconded by a toddler with shall we say up close results of her and her brother’s face, but never all of the face. The third was of a camping trip my husband and sons took last summer, the fourth, a lost roll from our youngest daughter’s first days of life in the hospital, but the fifth was the treasure; my son’s first communion this year.

Therein, were shots from the mass and the reception, complete with a shot of the whole family. Everyone is dressed nice. Most of us are looking in the same direction. The back row includes me and my oldest two daughters and son and the baby. We’re all smiling. No one's eyes are shut or red.

The front includes my husband, two toddlers, the first communion boy and his six year old sister. The toddlers are appropriately squirming but still friendly. They also are pining desperately for the food at the reception. We decided to do pictures before red punch ruined the effect of having dressed up for the day. The first communion child looks dapper and neat. Even his eyes are smiling.

The one catch?

The six year old sister, who was asked by the camera woman to move, has her arms crossed and a pout. When we first sat, everyone was happy. My husband had arranged people according to who would get along with who.

The camera lady decided the arrangement wasn’t artistic enough and began moving children like chess pieces. The kids resisted. “Why do we have to move?” one of them asked.

“I’m a professional photographer.” She explained.

My husband was trying to accommodate her wishes but pointed out, they’re all here and ready, why not take the picture.

“I'm not ready yet.”
He and I both sensed the danger.

“I want cake.” My youngest son whined, spying two children walking by stuffing their faces with white frosting goodness.

“Me too.” Became the chorus. One of the children started chanting…”Cake! Cake! Cake! Cake!” Others in the pack took up the cause.

“Take the picture.” I said through gritted teeth.

She didn’t get the hint. “This will look great. Trust me, I’m a professional. I arrange people all the time.” She bragged.

She shuffled the back row. She switched the toddlers on my husband's lap and straightened my son's tie. It was then she made one move too far, taking our emotional kindergartener from her preferred spot next to her dad, to the side of her true nemesis, the first communion boy.


My daughter sulked. She huffed. She cried. She stomped her foot. "I want to be next to Daddy!" she complained.

Having declared her reputation, the professional tried to fix the problem. She couldn’t have a crying child in the front row. The photographer tried relocation to the back. Being bumped from the front to the back in favor of her older sister was another unbearable blow. More sobs. A crowd was gathering to watch the ensuing drama.


My husband took charge. He asked the daughters to switch back and assured his still wet faced daughter she could sit next to him at the restaurant. Her face shone in triumph. She returned to the front.

“How did you?” the lady asked.

“I’m a professional mover of these eight people.” He replied.”Take the picture.”

“Now smile.” The photographer ordered.

Everyone did except the daughter in question, who was perfectly happy with the world but not about to obey the orders of a woman who had so inelegantly offended her sensibilities.


It’s not a bad shot. It may even be next year’s Christmas photo.

Except, after putting the photos away in the closet, I have this disposable camera from the party yesterday that hasn’t been developed yet.

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