Oh to be a Fly on the Wall at School Picture Day

Why didn’t any of you tell me about picture day? I mean we all had picture day growing up and have the terrible awkward adorable pictures to show for it, but come on.  I remember the combs.  The combs in the blue barbicide that they always had hanging around on picture day.  Inevitably, my mom would have us looking real cute, usually with some bows and uneven bangs and then they would re-comb my hair and it would end up looking like I was in a bar fight by the time we got the pictures back. All the memories from that particular time come back especially from the school photos.  The family photos are different.  The school photos tell their own story.

Exhibit A:


Don’t worry pre-teen dear tender-hearted Katy, one day decades from now, you’ll quite enjoy taking pictures of yourself.

Being on the other end of this now, watching my kids go for their very first pictures in what will hopefully be a long line of school pictures, I had no idea what this day would bring up. I naively thought, oh it’s just picture day.  We take pictures all the time, no big deal.

Of course a couple weeks ago when we got the brochures with the packages, my immediate reaction was, HOW DO THEY HAVE THE NERVE TO CHARGE $60 for some pictures that I could just print out at work for free? I mean, at a reputable photo printing facility because I would never abuse my work privileges that way (as I sit here in my cube wallpapered with family photos caving in on me). Ahem.

Well, I wound up ordering an inexpensive package (times two) and now I’m a big slobby mess over here feeling all the feelings about my babies taking their first official photos for Pre-K and it’s a whole thing.

We went to get haircuts a couple days ago and they both love the way they look.  Nothing gives me more joy than watching them look at themselves and really like what they see.  Then we picked out outfits and settled on coordinating shirts that Grandma got them last year. Not matching, but coordinating.


“NOW PEOPLE WILL KNOW WE ARE TWINS”.  Uh huh, NOW they will know.

This morning as I dressed them and combed their hair, they watched in the mirror as we put the gel in and slicked it down because my boy sometimes likes it spikey and sometimes likes it smoove.  We added a red headband for my girl to be a little fancy. Nikki teased me as we walked out the door that they would do some messy gardening before school and I didn’t even tell her to get out immediately.

Oh to be a fly on the wall at school picture day. As I sit here at my desk at work downtown these thoughts are racing through my brain:

  • Who is the person taking these photos?
  • Do they even know all the jokes and tricks to make them laugh and get them to smile?
  • They don’t have to smile if they don’t want to. Ever.  I hope nobody at school gives them shit about that.  It’s a phenomenal school.  They wouldn’t.
  • What if they get scared by the whole production of it? My boy gets super nervous about a lot of new things and I’m not there. But his fabulous teachers and aides, and HEY HIS TWIN SISTER are all there to care for him.
  • What about all these incredible kids in their class that I’ve fallen in love with already? What will they be wearing today and did they do their hair special and are they excited/nervous/dreading the pictures today?
  • I cannot wait to see the looks on their faces in their individual pictures with the cheesy backgrounds.  They are taking this quite seriously and I just know they are going to like the way they look and want to see the pictures 100 times when we get them.
  • I want to have as much confidence and appreciation for the way I look as they do.  Every single teacher and aide has commented to me that not only do they love my girls short hair, but she talks about that self love quite often with that little smile that shows her confidence in exactly who she is.
  • I should really get two of those frames that let you put a picture in for each year of school pictures all the way through, and oh my heart, I think of the parents who have lost their children mid-way through schooling or before they even start and oh. Oh oh oh.

I love picture day.  I’m not made of hearty enough stuff to make fun of it or get annoyed or put off by all this. I genuinely love it and the other parents find me too excitable and maybe a bit over the top, but my social anxiety combined with my torrential rain like love for these kids that I was never even supposed to have makes it impossible for me to move through that school each day without a shower of gratitude pouring down on me.

Picture day is representative of another school year, another phase, another chance, another shot at growth.  For those of us fortunate enough to have made it through this last year (because god damn it has been a year), this is a gift. I, for one, am not taking it for granted. Bring on all the wallet sized photos!


My four year old daughter asked to cut her hair super short

It is my honor and privilege to buy school supplies

How to hurt and then to heal at age 4 and 44

I never wanted kids

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