I don’t like to admit to this because it is a flaw of mine, but I am someone who likes a plan. Scratch that. I am someone who lives by a plan. I like to follow a schedule, fall back on a routine, and have the comfort of anticipating what the day will bring. As a mom, I’ve had to adjust my planned approach to life because children have their own rhythms, their own speed; rough nights of sleep, a cold or ear infection, and visits with family and friends. All of these unexpected parts of life, both good and bad, affect our children and us too. Having expectations is okay with me, so long as I am able to let them go when I need to.
Over the weekend, my mom drove down from Connecticut. It’d been more than four months since we’d last seen her. It was much too long to go without a visit. In the weeks leading up to my mom’s much anticipated visit, my daughter Annabelle would excitedly ask, “How many days til Nanna comes?” I’d tell her each time how long the wait would be and she’d respond, “Awweh!” or “Yay!” or “Oh no! That’s a long time!”
When my mom finally arrived, the kids shrieked their welcomes at her. She’d brought presents, sweets, and the best part of a Nanna visit: her very self. Our first night together, my mom, Annabelle and I snuck out for a girls’ night, leaving Matt and Levi to bond for boy’s night. All three of us girls got pedicures, manicures, and polish; it was a great girly night, and it went as I’d planned. Phew.
The next part of my plan for my mom’s visit with us what a family photo session: the following morning I set up my studio and rushed around getting my kids and myself ready for some family photos with Nanna. I suggested told my husband what he ought to wear for the portraits. I later learned he wasn’t so keen on my input (to which I feel bad about but also realistic too: not only am I behaving as his wife but as his photographer too–I wanted for us all to look our best for the photo).
I so badly wanted good photos of the kids with my mom. With all my running around and studio set up, I left Matt and my mom to put the finishing touches on the kids’ clothes and hair. Annabelle refused to have her hair combed or pinned back. I had to help with Levi’s hair, even chasing him down the hall so I could brush through his curls. Meanwhile, I felt overtired, my own hair needed to be washed, and I threw the only white shirt I owned. I guess that in all my planning for this session, I’d forgotten to include adequate time as part of the plan.
The session went less than perfect, and I think it had to do with all of us–Matt, my mom, me, and the kids–being overstimulated by a) getting to visit with each other after such a long stretch of time, b) being so excited to visit and losing sleep over it (the kids skipped naps and woke up early in the days leading up to my mom’s visit, which meant that Matt and I were sleepy too) and c) having great expectations for the days ahead: a day of outlet shopping–girls only while to boys went biking, lunch and then an Easter dinner. I admit, we I didn’t have small, laid back expectations for the visit. I wanted for it to be perfect; I wanted to do everything that I’d thought about doing with my mom in the months since I’d last seen her. I think I simply wanted too much to happen in our short visit together. My expectations soared beyond what time and my loved ones were capable of.
Luckily, I let go. I thought about doing photos later on in the visit, but decided we had plenty to do together. We’ll get more photos next time we see each other. And what happened? I relaxed. My family relaxed. We spent the rest of the visit playing outside together, having fun, watching the Simpsons after the kids’ bath each night . . . and there was no longer any worry about having to “accomplish” this or that as part of our visit.
Our family did manage to get a few good shots together . . . my photographer’s eye tells me these are not “perfect” photographs, but my heart, the heart belonging to Carol’s daughter, Matt’s wife, and Levi and Annabelle’s mom knows that these photos are great. They capture a busy morning of five people who love each other very much trying so hard to make a great portrait happen. They capture the good intentions my mom had for that session; her wanting to give me good photos of her with her grandchildren, her wanted to be in that family portrait with me. Thank you for that mom.
These were my favorites from this visit: My mom is always photogenic. Her smile truly brightens up the room.
Oh, and he insisted on bringing along a toothbrush, which is now one of his favorite toys. I think it may have to do with him seeing me brush my teeth five times a day or more because of my invisalign. By the way, can you notice my invisalign in these photos? I can, but I know they’re there.
Annabelle happened to be in a tired and grumpy mood. She was feeling super sensitive and didn’t want for us to brush her hair or comment on her appearance (which makes me feel like I am getting a scary preview of her teen years). Mood aside, she came around and wanted to be photographed with her Nanna. I love this photograph of them.
On a last note, I am going to be away from my blog in the coming weeks with family responsibilities and work projects. Though, you never know . . . it always makes me feel good when I get over here and write a bit, so I may be back sooner than expected, :-)
Until next time,
Lots of love and peace to you,