Monday, April 22, 2013

Autocracy

Tomorrow is school pictures day, which first of all is a racket because it happens twice a year, not yearly like when I was little, and you and I both know I will buy those awesome-awkward pictures every time. There is exactly one photo album I update diligently in our house, and it's the dedicated school pictures album. The great thing about having enrolled all the kids in daycare at three or four months old is that they won't have had to wait until they turn five to experience the wonder that is school photos. Nope, theirs date back to their infancies. In E's first school picture, she was so young that she didn't know how to sit up yet. One of her teachers lay on the floor under the prop carpet and squeezed E upright between her knees. How can you not cherish that nonsense? Flipping those pages and watching their cherubic faces grow amidst the fake flower field backdrops, that's good stuff.

So tomorrow is school pictures at daycare, which second of all is fantastic because they'll do individual shots as well as a posed sibling situation in which the awkward-awesome is magnified exponentially. Those photos are even more wonderful to me than the individual shots. For two years, all three kids were in daycare together, and the four three-kid school photos we have, well, they could blind you with all that awkward-awesome. Just be careful when you open the album, is all I'm saying.

One of the saddest days of my life was when E had left for kindergarten and L&G went off to school pictures day without her. But one of the greatest days was a few months later, when E's teachers had their spring professional development day on the same exact day that L&G had school pictures day. Oh, yes, I did bring E right back to daycare and stick her in a fully-populated siblings school picture. There were plastic flowers in addition to a canvas backdrop that year. Sweet mercy.

In the grand scheme of things, there is much I don't fuss over. One of the ways I get us out the door each morning while keeping a fingerhold on my sanity is by not caring what clothes the kids wear each day. They are responsible for picking their own clothes and I will only make weather-related changes to their choices.

There are exactly five categorical exceptions to this rule: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, weddings and funerals, bar and bat mitzvahs, and school pictures day. Truth.

I never put them in matching outfits but I do like their clothes to complement each other's attire. So tomorrow Mr. G is wearing some blue-and-white seersucker pants and a heathered blue polo. Lady L is wearing a navy-and-white chevron shirt with neon pink jeans.

And I will confess to you that a small part of the pleasure of the ritual is their scheduled indignation over the temporary loss of wardrobe autonomy. I will make you cute and you will like it. You will remember Mama's favorite teaching, that God is in the details; and Daddy's, that if Mama's not happy, then nobody's happy.

They will pout: why? And I almost never answer this way but it's part of the ritual, so tomorrow morning I will say:

Because I'm the Mama. And I said so.

And on Wednesday, you will undoubtedly find them again in pajama pants and rainbow capes.

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