When I plan something for myself and my family to do, I have this picture perfect day in my head. I swear, it's like I seem to set my expectations at an all time high when anything outside of our norm is involved. For instance, during the holiday season when it came time to put up the Christmas tree and all of its glory there wasn't anybody that could've told me that it wouldn't be an evening fit for a Christmas special. We'd have the fireplace lit with Destiny's Child Christmas playing on Pandora in the background. My children would be dressed in their footed pajamas, dancing around the tree as they strategically placed the ornaments on its artificial branches. I was even deadset on trying egg nog for the first time because that would have just been everything! But did it REALLY happen like that???
It took us almost forty minutes to get an actual crackle in the fire. My oldest daughter, Cherokee's footed pajamas were too small so she could only pull it up to her torso and wrap its sleeves around her waist. My baby boy, Lil Meech couldn't even find his and my two other heathens, ahem, children, Chance and Brooklyn decided that THIS would be the evening that they hated one another the most. They irritated my OCD when they insisted on hanging all of the ornaments on one side of the tree, my 4G service was being erratic so Beyonce' kept pausing mid-ballad & the egg nog was the most disgusting thing I have ever tasted in my life.
But ain't that how it is?! It's like when you've been planning to take family photos for forever and you've seen all these amazing pictures on Facebook, hyping the anticipation, and when ya'll get there noone even looks at the camera on the same accord and totally disregards the photographers direction. And then someone starts crying...yea, it all goes down hill from there. Noone cares that you've picked out coordinating colors for everyone to wear, made sure the boys had fresh haircuts and that the girls were flawless, and after hours of dysfuntion and utter humilation, you get maybe one (and a possible) presentable, frame worthy photo??!!!
But then you get your uncooperative family home (after you've expressed your dissapointment with disheartening silence the entire ride there) & settled in for the night. Once the chaos calms, you kick back with a glass (bottle) of wine and pop in the disc full of dysfunctional photos that the photographer provided you with as he all put pushed you out the door....and your heart melts.
Those photos that you've paid an undisclosed amount of money for, that you considered to be a waste, cursing yourself, are not exactly what you expected, but MORE. There are moments captured within each photograph that seems to take your breath away with every click. You watch, in old school "flip book" fashion, as your eldest child is caught, through the lens of the camera, consoling the bratty, spoiled one by kneeling to her and using words that seemed to calm her fiesty spirit. You're able to bear witness to the most genuine smile you have ever seen on the middle child that you wouldn't have seen otherwise because he had been standing beside you the whole time. You notice, in several of the pictures, that their father has his hand at the small of your back, something he hardly ever does, as if he were trying to subconsciously soothe your stress.
And then you realize that it's these photos, the real life moments that happen in the midst of this picture perfect fairytale in our heads, are the photos that you want to Facebook, instagram, tweet, Flickr and frame. These are deemed worthy of the chaos because they've captured an essence that we are all too eager NOT to see.
It's not that I that I feel the need to lower the expectations that I set for myself and my family, but that I need to simply let moments happen. They won't always be pretty, nor will they be "picture perfect"....but they'll always be exactly what they are, MOMENTS. I still have a long ways to go before I'm not just a little bit upset that I didn't get to capture my son petting a goat at the petting zoo, or when my pinterest recipe doesn't look anything like it did on the website. But I'm learning to be okay with the memories, minus the photographic evidence, being enough. I'm learning to accept that the moment still happened sans scrapbooking material and that ugly food tastes just the same!
I challenge each and everyone of us to simply allow these moments to happen in their true form, without our expectations of what they should be altering their authenticity. To bask in the chaos that we would feel incomplete without and to simply become a part of the madness....until it's time to shut it down and clean house!! LOL!
But seriously, what good are "captured moments" if we never seem to be in them anyway?