Portraits

The Beauty Blind Leading The Way

It started at 5 am. That’s when my husband woke up and informed me he was going fishing….ON FAMILY PICTURE DAY. “I’ll be back in plenty of time,” he says. My husband knows he only needs to shower and put some clothes on and he’ll look fantastic. So I try in vain to get back to sleep. At 5:30 am I give up  and Sydney decides she is also done sleeping. I get the baby, feed and change her. Hannah and Jayden get up at 7 am.

Slipping On The Mask Of Me

I am stressed trying to get everyone bathed, dressed and perfectly coiffed. I scour my bathroom cabinets for makeup scraps and remember that I probably ought to pluck my eyebrows. I am preparing the mask of me.

I’m trying to explain to my seven-year-old daughter what eyeliner is without telling her that it still makes my skin crawl EVERY SINGLE TIME I scrape it under my eyes. I see her watching me apply makeup and it makes me feel awkward. I have made it my life’s mission to keep the beauty expectations low. Hannah even asked me if I was wearing pajamas when I picked her up for school once. It was just a sweatshirt and jeans, but for a second I thought maybe my beauty expectations might be scraping a little too low.

Picture Day Mom

I tell her the trick is wiping some of the makeup off so you don’t completely cover what God gave you. I know she’s thinking how much better I look. She tells me I look beautiful and though it’s truly sweet it also worries me that she might think it’s because of the makeup, the dress, the hair blown out and brushed smooth. This is not the mom she knows. This is the woman auditioning for the role of Mommy. I guess it’s supposed to be a bad thing that I don’t give that much thought to my appearance, but I’m more of a utilitarian person. If I’m taking care of everyone shouldn’t that be enough? Do I need to look like a Barbie doll on top of it? I’m sure my husband would like it if I did, but that’s not really the woman he married. Maybe I’ll doll myself up once in awhile so he can pretend he’s having an affair with picture day wife.

The Price Of Primping

I know there are women who undergo this transformation every day, but I can’t be a woman who puts hours of work into my appearance. I know my skin will make me pay for my daring to cover up my flaws by giving me fresh new blemishes to cover tomorrow. I simply CAN’T care this much all the time. It would drive me to drink, worrying if my hair is in place or my skin looks good, worrying if I’m going to teeter out of my heals and bust my head open on the pavement. It feels unnatural to me. There is a part of me that is terrified my daughter will become beauty conscious at some point and I don’t know what I’ll do about it.

Where Did My Baby Go?

I remember my mother ogling the portraits of me as a teenager. I know now that she was just looking at me in those photos like any mom would, marveling at the young woman I was becoming while also wondering where her baby girl went. That’s how I look at my kids’ picture’s. I tell Hannah she is beautiful and just hope that it’s enough for now. I would hate for her to think it requires hours of primping to transform into beautiful. I also remind myself that my mom shied away from photos so much so that there weren’t many to be found after she passed away. I don’t want to do that to my kids either. I want them to see I was here with them. AND that my friends is the inner battle of a low maintenance gal on picture day. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t, but since I had a coupon making the portraits free it made it that much easier to pose.

Doll up if I must. Pretend my kids didn’t just spend the ENTIRE car ride to the studio fighting over who owns the happy meal toy that was found in the back of the minivan. Pretend our family is “picture perfect.” We are NOT. But I just hope that the love shines through. In the end that’s all that matters. But now you know why I prefer candid photos. They aren’t always pretty, but they are always true.

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