Letting Go of Picture Perfect

Dear Chrissy of future holidays,

Hey, it’s me.  Chrissy of Easter 2016.  Let’s discuss for a minute, ok? 

You (ok, we) love holidays.  I mean, really love them.  You spend a lot of time thinking about how to make them fun and special.  You fantasize about happy, orderly celebrations, where no one is crying. And every Easter and Christmas, you get coordinating outfits for all the girls.  You also get dressy shoes, even though you know they’ll only wear the shoes for maybe an hour max.  We’re always hopeful like that, aren’t we?  We always think that thisthis will be the year that everyone will behave sweetly, and we’ll all be clean, and everyone will get dressed without a fuss, and we’ll wear the adorable matching outfits and dressy shoes.  And we will take a magical perfect photo where they’re all looking and smiling, and for once you WILL develop it and put it smack in the middle of the mantle. 

I’m here to remind that the chances of that happening are slim to none.  And I’m here to tell you that you need to LET IT GO.  Let that vision of the perfectly composed photo and an orderly celebration go.  Let it all go, and instead, embrace the moments and focus on the time together.  Let’s review how it went for you this Easter, shall we? 

You were so excited to have picked out the perfect Easter dresses.  They were frilly, frothy, girly dresses . . . pure pastel perfection, like little Easter eggs.  You carefully packed those adorable dresses, along with the new monogrammed Easter baskets, and every single other item you needed on your solo trip to Grandma’s house.  Your car was full, but you felt ready.  You were so sure the drive would be easy.  You were so wrong.  Someone had to use the potty fifteen minutes into the four hour drive.  You cursed.  You got frustrated.  But you broke out that new car potty and kept on keeping on after a quick pitstop.  When you finally made it to Grandma’s house, the kids all went crazy.  They were thrilled to be hanging with all their cousins, dying Easter eggs, and taking part in the mass chaos. 

The kids didn’t want the party to end at night, because no one slept.  The babies apparently hated sleeping in pack-n-plays, because they took turns crying all night long.  But, you were still sure it could happen; you would get that perfect picture of them in front of the church in their sweet little dresses.  Keeping that hope alive, you had carefully set aside their dresses and Easter baskets.  You purposely put the Easter baskets up high, because you knew the girls would want to tote them everywhere.  As we know now, not high enough. 

On the night before Easter, you gathered up the baskets.  Five of six.  Where was the sixth basket?  Not anywhere, that’s where.  You got mad at the biggies for losing it.  And then someone finally found it—sitting in the backyard with a half dozen dyed Easter eggs and filled with water, due to the nonstop rain.  It was soggy.  You felt soggy.  And angry.  Oh, the biggies said, we remember now.  Emily was using it for an egg hunt with the other four-year-old cousins.  You cursed about not being able to have nice things.  You asked why you should even bother.  You felt defeated and tired.

But, there was bunny work to be done so you carried on.  You and your sisters laughed and had fun putting together baskets.  Then you went outside and saw an actual BUNNY in the front yard.  You thought maybe you were hallucinating from sleep deprivation but you weren’t—there was a bunny in front of your Mom's suburban yard on the night before Easter.  And when you saw that bunny, you realized what a crazy person you’d been to completely lose it over the soggy Easter basket.  Your four-year-old had used the Easter basket for an Easter egg hunt, and she had a blast doing so, even in the rain.  So you did what you need to do in future holidays—you let it go

Still, you had high hopes for that Easter picture.  It would happen, you thought.  So you laid your weary, exhausted head down much too late, and in that moment, the babies started waking up crying.  Which they again took turns doing for the entire night.  It was one of those nights where you wonder who else on earth has been awake with you.  People at overnight shift jobs?  Other moms consoling their babies?  People partying the night before Easter at 1 a.m., 2:30 a.m., and 5 a.m.?  People in bakeries who were up really early baking bread?  Are any bakeries open on Easter?

The morning was a flurry of activity.  There was no way the babies could make it through mass, so you stayed home with them.  And then it came time for a last ditch photo.  You threw on the babies’ cute tutus and tank tops.  You were wearing jeans and a t shirt, and had soaking wet hair thrown up in a pony tail and no make up.  It was still pouring rain, so you took the photo in the foyer of Grandma’s house. 

It was not at all the Easter photo you had pictured in your mind.  And you know what, Chrissy?  It was ok.  There was no picture perfect photo of everyone standing in the dazzling sun, clean and smiling and looking so happy.  Because everyone was happy—the babies were happy because they finally got some rest, and the biggies were happy they had spent so much time with their cousins.  So you let it go.  And I’m here to tell you—you need to read this every holiday.  Let it go.  Let the idea of a perfect, shareable photo go.   

After all was said and done this Easter, you remembered the fun and funny things about the weekend—the magical encounter with the bunny in the front yard, the soggy Easter basket, the way the babies danced with everyone, the way the big girls were so helpful with the babies, and how much fun everyone had together.  So this Christmas, remember this—sometimes perfect holidays don’t come with perfect photos. So focus on the fun times together, and save your money on the dresses (and shoes).  It’s not going to happen.  But I know you (us, ha), and you’ll buy them again.  Because you’re always hopeful.  Just remember the dresses will be covered in candy canes and someone will be crying when you try to take that “perfect” Christmas photo.  And the resulting photo will be imperfectly perfect in every way because of your beautiful, crazy, and chaotic life.  Chocolate, tears, tantrums, candy canes, and all.  

Easter 2016

Smile for the camera!  Or not.... Only photo of me and the kids at Easter--and only half the six pack.  Big girls were too busy playing with their cousins and eating chocolate bunnies.

That basket on the left?  It's soaking wet.