Seventeen -17 - SEVENTEEN people between the ages of one and sixty-nine!
That’s 34 arms, 34 legs, 34 eyes to get turned in the same direction. It’s a huge amount of teeth, clean and shiny covered by lips that you’d at least like to look like they’re smiling. And then there’s the dog, a wonderful pup, but he only has one oar in the water and all these people want to pet, pat and pull him in different directions.
It makes for a chaotic afternoon of picture taking in the park.
As if that’s not enough, the park has a beautiful stream running right through the center fully equipped with ducks who have no fear of people. And we have children who have no fear of ducks or water. The idea of keeping all those little feet, hands and legs clean AND out of the water was ridiculous.
Whose idea was this anyway?
My own children have been raised from day one by parents who couldn’t afford to waste “film”. Film, the roll that once upon a time was put in the camera and then pictures were taken that had to be developed. Unfortunately, we never knew until the pack of photos was returned to us if someone blinked, or had turned around to see if everyone else was smiling, or the light was too bright or too dim. In the land before seatbelts, I had two little blonde haired girls who had stick straight hair. Before picture taking, I'd comb, barrette, and plaster their heads with hairspray to prevent any possible movement. They would ask, "Can we lean back in the seat of the car," "NO! We're almost there, don't move." (Such a picky momma!) “Please,” I would say, “PLEASE look at the camera! Smile! Stand still!” That didn’t always work, but I tried just because I couldn’t afford to toss failed pictures into the waste can.
And then they all got married.
We’re blessed to have seven grandchildren now. Hence, SEVENTEEN and a dog. We could have added two more dogs, but that would have been crazy. I can almost see our youngest daughter’s beagle chasing the ducks and dragging a five year old through the stream. Cooper, the one in the picture, is an old man so he's not much into chasing. Charlie, my son’s dog, is a youngster though. His never ending plea is, “Wanna play? Wanna play? I’ll play! Come on, it’ll be fun!” We didn’t go there.
But still, we were SEVENTEEN and a dog by a stream filled with ducks in the middle of a park on a gorgeous fall day. And they did it because, “Mom wants a family picture.” We can’t all get together often. My son-in-law from NC hadn’t been here in a year. My daughter from Lewisburg has an incredible schedule with teenage kids, jobs, swim team, school, friends. Life gets busy, but still “Mom wants a family picture.”
So I look at the picture and I can SEE their smiles, their eyes all turned toward the camera for the single moment that the camera’s red light blinks on the tripod, but I HEAR the laughter and the shuffling about. There’s poking and there’s joking. Everyone is a target! I know the old man dog was ready to be done, the one year old just wanted to watch everyone behind her and the two five year olds preferred climbing on the rocks.
But still they smiled and my heart is full to running over when I look at it because they did it just because “Mom wants a family picture.” Even the son-in-laws, who would rather have a tooth pulled without novacaine, cooperated.
PRICELESS! But this is how they really felt!