Is that too much to ask?
Pinterest says we should practice gazing at each other lovingly to get that “spontaneous loving family moment.” My Facebook feed suggests I get my hair and makeup professionally done. And lose 50 pounds. Our outfits should be perfectly coordinated—but not too matchy—and there should definitely not be a sparkly ladybug tattoo on your 3-year-old’s arm.
In the age of lets share every Photoshopped moment of our lives… I had to slam on my own brakes. A perfect family photo does not make us a more perfect family. So I let it go. I love this family. I mean, I daily look over at these crazy yahoos that I call children and am actually SO THANKFUL that they are mine. I love that man who chooses to do life with me. Every day- he still picks me. WHO CARES if our photos are terrible? WHO CARES if the world will see the giant (SERIOUSLY—GIANT) pimple that is erupting on my face? WHO CARES if my boys will only smile like wild beasts flashing their teeth?
I’m trying not to care. To be really happy with the wild and wonderfulness that God has given me. To soak in the amazing moments. To be thrilled by the everyday. Snuggles. Card games (so many card games). Walks to the park. Movies on the couch. Working in the yard.
I’m working on remembering that my life is messy. That I am a mess. And I am not the only one. I am hoping to scan friends’ family photos—perfectly posed, edited, and cropped—and see the real life mess: The beautiful mixture of imperfect people who are doing life together, choosing to be family even when it’s hard.
Our family photos turned out beautifully. I found myself staring—Is that really us?! We are not accurately representing the mess that we are. We are people who hurt, disappoint, frustrate, and exhaust one another. We are parents who disappoint their children; and children who frustrate their parents. We are a wife and husband who communicate so differently that we often barely speak the same language. So we give each other a lot of grace. Grace times three plus seven. We move forward. Making mistakes and learning to love and grow with each other. Even in the mess.
Oh… did you think I was going to share those beautiful photos?! Yeah, right!
A more accurate image of our family life: