Do you remember how proud you were, sitting on that hard little stool, a dark blue or bland beige background behind you, everyone’s eyes on you as the photographer beseeches: SMILE!
And, then you think: That’s not a smile. That’s the look I give when I stub my toe, or when my brother/sister whacks me in the arm when mom isn’t looking.
But, suddenly, in the wink of an eye, it’s the next year and time for another school picture. This time, you tell yourself, I’m going to smile and look right into the camera and come out of there with a true representation of ME! (Well, maybe when you were in 2nd or 3rd grade you didn’t use the big word: representation. But you get the gist.)
When you’re 20, and even when you’re 30, or worse, 40 and now your kids are laughing at your school picture, you think wistfully: “If only I could skip back in time and re-do that 1st grade school picture ….”
My daughter hated her school pictures, yet she blithely sends her kids off two weeks ago for theirs: pre-school, 1st grade, and 3rd grade. The two boys, 4 and 7, are dressed in button-down shirts and khakis. The 8-year-old girl has freshly shampooed hair, a shiny barrette that matches her tangerine shift, and sweet peach earrings in her newly pierced ears.
Not knowing the immense importance of that day, I pick up the middle grandson from school in the afternoon for some special time alone with Madre.
He hops into the car and blurts out enthusiastically. “Today was Picture Day!”
Hmm, I think suspiciously. What’s he so cheerful about? This grandson usually strides to the beat of his own drum.
“How’d it go?” I offer.
“Wellll,” the 7-year-old peers at me as if wondering if he dare tell me all.
He dares: “Mom had me all dressed up with a fancy shirt and stuff, but I wanted to show a better reflection of myself.” (Yes, those are the exact words he uses.)
I look at the boy in my rearview mirror, thinking, “uh oh.”
“So, I wore my shark t-shirt instead, and pinned on my Sheriff’s badge.”
I admit, I want to shout out, “Good for you!” He’s so proud of himself.
But I also wonder if I should call my daughter and warn her. She is NOT going to be delighted about his rebellious school picture.
I just chuckle and whisper, “Hooray – here’s one kid who will love his school picture when he grows up.”