Today is a big day in the lives of school aged children. Picture Day. At our house, it’s been on the calendar since the first day of school, and we have spent at least 5 car rides discussing the outfit, the hair, the wake up time, curling iron vs. flat iron, matte vs. gloss, and several other very important details.
I think this is probably a pretty universal thing. I remember the stress and anxiety of picture day well. If you’re a tweenage girl who has a history of being incredibly un-photogenic*, there’s a lot riding on that 10 seconds in front of the camera. That’s your student ID, your yearbook photo, your sheet of wallets to pass out to friends...And the camera guy does not give a rip if your photo is worthy of catapulting you into a lifetime of popularity, or relegating you to the lonely cafeteria table next to the garbage cans. (Probably because the camera guy sees how adorable every single one of those kids is, and knows that their school photo is not their ticket to greater social standing. But he is not a middle school aged girl who knows in her heart that she is on the cusp of becoming the next Molly Ringwald if ONLY her school photo could capture the essence of who she really is.)
*I’m strangely unphotogenic, not my gorgeous daughter who has had a camera in her face since the moment of her birth. In fact that whole paragraph was total projection. She wants to be Meghan Trainor. She doesn’t even know who Molly Ringwald is. Anyway…
Back to my original point. Picture Day = big deal. Now add that for my two little Catholic School sweeties, Picture Day is one of the only days during the entire school year when they can choose to wear whatever they want* to school.
“Whatever they want” is not actually whatever they want. There was an edict about proper “free dress” attire that came home earlier this week - no jeans, no tank tops, no athletic wear, no short skirts, no rips or tears...you get the idea. But the point is, this is their one chance to use fashion to express exactly who they really are inside. Underneath all the chinos, polo shirts, and plaid skorts are short humans with hopes and dreams that can only be expressed through jewel toned skinny pants and ironic t-shirts. It’s like that Eminem song - YOU ONLY GET ONE SHOT to let your classmates who have known you since pre-k see the real you. True, it’s the same you they see every weekend and all summer long. But this is a Wednesday. In September! Don’t blow it.
The net result of all this buildup is as follows:
- After much panic yesterday I drove to Gordman’s at 8 p.m. and bought everyone a new outfit.
- Sweet Pea woke up almost 2 hours before we needed to go and began a grooming ritual worthy of a Kardashian. She even let me help with hair, which I am rarely allowed to do. When she was done she looked stunning. And also 17. Well, what the 17 year olds would look like if they didn’t all look 25.
- I’m having chest pains.
- Sweet William on the other hand refused to get out of bed until the last possible second. He took a shower, but didn’t even get his hair wet. He was happy to wear the new shirt I bought him last night, but told me at length about the injustice of the “walk and talk” recess they would be forced to endure this morning so that they didn’t get dirty. His parting words, “Mom, wouldn’t this picture be better if I looked like I was actually having fun? And when I have fun I usually get dirty, so….?”
Happy Picture Day.