I have had more emails, comments, Facebook messages and texts about our holiday photo than I ever could have dreamed. That photo seriously came from a moment of desperation when I said to our photographer, Paige, “Seriously just take it, I’ll use it…it’s honest.” When she sent me the “outtake” and the beautiful piece she edited to make them all look cooperative, I fell in love. I mean, really, the look on my oldest’s face says it all. She’s my mini-me and I wear that look a lot because, well, this is our real life.
We have five kids between the ages 3 months to almost 7 years. On the 30 minute drive to our photographer’s house, the twins fell asleep. And no, Carter’s not sleeping in that picture, just being stubborn. Yes, Elias is trying to eat the ornament we gave him while trying to bribe him into cooperating. Alex is crying (she decided that day was ripe for a nursing strike), and I have no idea what Brett is doing back there. Karsyn, though, she had the patience of a saint through the whole thing…though she begged her siblings to cooperate.
The thing is though, that’s the TRUTH about life with so many young kids. Sure, we all love the staged photos of kids sitting nicely together, but they aren’t real. They are just part of the highlight real that we see on Facebook and Pinterest that lead us into comparing our normal with the unrealistic perfection we’re constantly bombarded with.
Real life, whether you have one child or eight, is messes, tantrums, bribery, discipline, tired toddlers, and maybe just maybe, mommy and the photographer bribing the kids with marshmallows and cookies from behind the camera if they would just. sit. still. for. two. freaking. seconds.
But we love it. Maybe we don’t love every second. But we love it overall.
Maybe we don’t love that it takes longer to get them all dressed, out the door and buckled in than the actual errand we’re running. But we love the excitement on their faces when we get there and the memorable conversations and sing-alongs along the way.
Maybe we don’t love the mountains of laundry we see everyday. But we look fondly on the tiny pieces of baby clothes we pack up and the stained and torn t-shirts that have survived four kids and we hope the fifth will make it through.
Maybe we don’t love how insanely loud our house gets around 5pm every night. But we love the tiny sleeping angels we look in on and kiss goodnight a few hours later.
Maybe we don’t love the awkward stares and the meant-to-be-helpful comments from strangers at the grocery store.
“Enjoy them. They grow so fast and you’ll miss this.” And somedays, somedays all we can say is “I look forward to reminiscing.”
And maybe sometimes things get so crazy that we forget to send out Christmas cards and decide to claim we meant to just send out New Year’s Greetings instead…intentionally. 😉 It’s the new “thing” right?
A huge shout out to Paige Rynberg Photography for both her patience with our large family and her amazing photography skills. And a special thank you to Minted for being there to back a designer up when she’s too busy chasing 5 kids to design her own cards!