Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I sent my kid to Picture Day in a crappy t-shirt and it was AWESOME


I got the memo: Picture Day was coming up at Max's school. At least two emails were sent, and a flyer. I prepaid for a photo package.

Picture Day arrived. Problem was, I didn't remember till five days after it happened. And by then, I had no idea what Max had been wearing. Was it one of his nice shirts with a collar or an old one with permanent stains? A sports shirt with some random number on it? One of those t-shirts with a meaningless phrase like "Joe's Fuel Station"?

I'd only know once I got the pictures. Sigh.

I'm not stricken by mom guilt very often. I've never felt bad about working, even when Max was a baby and getting a whole lot of therapy; I needed the distraction of work, and I also enjoy what I do for a living. I'd get a stab of guilt if I missed out on a school event, though I've usually been able to attend them and volunteer for class trips.

I do have occasional guilt flare-ups about whether I'm doing enough for Max, but that comes with the gig of being a special needs mom. I could quit my job; go to school to become a speech therapist, occupational therapist and physical therapist (with music therapy as a minor!); buy him all the educational books and toys in the world; and basically devote every spare minute of my life to him, and I would still not feel that I was doing enough. And so, I have learned to mostly be content with what I can do.

The guilt took me by surprise. Picture Day only happens once a year; how could I forget? Max—who's looking extra-handsome lately—could potentially be memorialized for all posterity in something shoddy. He might be the eyesore in the class photo among a group of neatly dressed kids, the one whose parent clearly didn't have her act together. I carry the kids' school photos in my wallet; was I going to be haunted by my mess-up every time I went to pay for something? (Although Sabrina regularly rearranges my wallet photos to make sure hers is on top.)

Then Max came home from school with the photos. And, yes, it just so happens he was wearing a t-shirt that day, and it was awesome: Max is definitely the most monster force I've ever known.

I couldn't have chosen a better shirt if I'd tried.

20 comments:

  1. Perfect, I'm sure you will always look back and love this one. My oldest received a hand-me-down really ugly sweater the day before pictures and really wanted to wear it, I dressed her in the outfit I had planned instead. I was shocked when the pictures came and she was wearing the sweater. Somehow my barely verbal child had put the sweater in her bag and insisted her aide put it on her for the photo. When I talked to her aide she said she assumed I wanted her to wear it because my daughter was so insistent.

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  2. Somehow I can't imagine that you EVER send Max to school in something "crappy". :) The photo is handsome and you must be so pleased!

    When my brother was is first grade. He had no front teeth, he chose to wear a wild, shiny, 1970's style shirt with the huge collar. The school photos were taken right after lunch. My brother had eaten a hamburger for lunch, with ketchup, and it was all over his mouth. His hair was uncombed. When my mother got the photos, she cried. How could she possibly send them to her parents? Or sisters? Or even hang it on the wall! (gasp!) That was 1978... Today, that photo is an all-time favorite!

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  3. He's not only cute, he's got really good hair. Some poor girl probably eyes him regularly wondering how a BOY got such good hair!!

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  4. It is certainly wonderful how things DO work out sometimes!!!! At least he and Garrett might be classmates at the University!!!

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  5. What a terrific photo! He's so handsome!

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  6. Love it!!! Totally perfect.

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  7. Max looks extra handsome!! I still have a school picture of his from a few years that I carry in my wallet and Margo is always happy to see a picture of her cousin when she is with me and I open my wallet.

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  8. This is Awesome! :)

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  9. Extra cute! Sometimes, the harder you try, the worse it gets!

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  10. his smile makes up for the shirt plus I like his shirt

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  11. FIrst of all, with a face like that, no one is even looking at what Max is wearing.

    Next, school pictures should capture our kids in this one frozen moment in time. My feeling is that any imperfections, whether real or perceived, ought to be memorialized because they are part of our kids' life stories. That's why I always tell Bar and Bat Mitzvah parents not to fret over the braces on their kids' teeth, etc. It's an honest accounting of that one moment.

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  12. Excellent!! :-) I remembered picture day this year, but knew there was no way Sammi would let anyone take her picture, regardless of how cute I dressed her. So I had to make sure she was fully-prepared for the picture make-up day. Fortunately, the teacher sent a note home to remind me the day before. :-)

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  13. Beautiful picture. Now you can officially take the stress out of picture day by throwing away the save the date letter and just letting Max be Max!

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  14. Oops hit publish before I was done (story of my life ;) My favourite part of the post (other than the pic) was "And so, I have learned to mostly be content with what I can do." Definitely rings true in our world. Thanks for sharing, Ellen!

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  15. i literally laughed out loud at work, i can just imagine me doing this and getting mad but then what do you do :)

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Thanks for sharing!