Sundays, typically, are formulaic around here. The formula = complete and total chaos. Whereas Saturdays tend to be more laid back and filled with seeing friends and sleeping inâ€”at least a little bitâ€”Sundays tend to be an up-and-at-’em, go-getter, daylight-wasted-is-gone-forever type of day. One of us is up early to run outside, and one of us is up early to do squats, burpees, and push-ups (because I am a crazy person, obviously). And then the chaos happensâ€”birthday parties, grocery shopping, ice skating, hockey, Costco, playdates, coffee runs, Hebrew school, errand-running.
We have two cars going at once, to make certain that we accomplish everything.
Occasionally I try to squeeze some things in, knowing full well that it might be a mistake, might be pushing it too much.
Yesterday was one of those occasions.
“I really want to take pictures today. Of the three kids. For that spot above our couch. And, you know, for my office wall.”
Those spots had been begging, for the years, to be filled. The collage of black multi-sized frames that hangs above my Mac is filled with pictures of some other person’s kidsâ€”licking an ice cream, getting sandy on the beach, hugging her mama tightlyâ€”the ones who came with the frame. People who wander near my office do triple-takes and then realize that the little blond girl who loves the beach so much is not, in fact, Isabella, but a lovely little model who posed for someone else’s camera.
The last framed picture I have of my three children is from 2008 at the latestâ€”Isabella was no more than three years old, still suffering from her baby baldness. It’s a beautiful picture, but it only takes one glance at it to see how much my children have changed, how Isabella has lost that last bit of chub, how Josh’s blond, fine hair has grown darker and more kid-like, how grown-up our preteen has become.
The walls are begging. And I fancy myself a little bit of a photographer. And yet.
Every time I try to shoot my family, it ends in tears.
Other children? Easy peasy. I follow their cues, I get them to smile, to chat with me, to laugh at my dumb jokes. We try different positions and angles until I get what I’m looking for, that sweet spot where all of them are looking my way.
My children? Disaster. It’s too cold, I’m not comfortable, my sleeves are too long, I don’t want to touch her, she’s breathing too close to me, why do I have to stand here, can I go run around over there, are we done yet, are we done yet, are we done yet, ARE WE DONE YET?Â
It never goes well, whenever I try. Mother’s Day? Disaster. My birthday? Disaster. Fall in the leaves? Nightmare.
It’s funny because it’s all I wantâ€”to fill that spot about the couch, to fill that spot in my office, to have shots to send to my mother, my father, my family. I honestly feel like I ask for very little from my children. Just this one thing.
Just like I could have predicted before we even started, before I drove out to the perfect photoshoot spotâ€”complete with sprawling greenery, wooden fence, and running horses in the backgroundâ€”before I hauled out the camera, this one ended in tears. Of course. And not a single usable shot. I crawled into the van. Hurt, defeated, sad, angry, frustrated, spent, done.
And then came the blues. This complete and total overall rush of ick and shittiness.
I got home , threw on my comfiest sweats, and got into my bed with my giant coffee. I watched this past week’s Parenthood and half of Glee until I decided that I’m completely and total over Glee. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t want anyone to talk to me.Â I couldn’t stop crying. I edited lovely pictures of other peoples’ children. I worked. I took a nap. I played Ticket to Ride on my phone. Â I didn’t get up and get dressed again until 7:30, because we had dinner plans. Given the choice, though, I would have stayed in bed the rest of the night. It was really the only place I wanted to be.
I put on my big girl pants and went out, though, and had a lovely time. If you didn’t know, you wouldn’t have known how I have spent my afternoon. You wouldn’t have known how blue-ish I felt. You may have suspected that something was up since I was drinking wine, which I never do, because I do not enjoy drinking wine. You may have suspected, but you couldn’t have known.
That’s the thing, right? You can’t ever knowâ€”just by looking at someone.
But sometimes there are blueish moments. And you have just got the ride it out until the moments pass. Until you get a giant middle-of-the-night hug from Isabella. Until you get a text at dinner about Emily finally losing that tooth that has been bugging her for weeks. Until Josh wants to ask you a very important joke that’s surprisingly funny.
Until it’s over.
Until you wake up in the morning, ready to tackle what Monday has to offer.
Come at me Mondayâ€”you can’t knock me down. Not today. Not after yesterday.Â
But as much as it pains me, I know that I have to put the camera down. And no longer try with them. But, you know, at least we have a Bat Mitzvah coming up and then maybe someoneâ€”someone who is not MEâ€”will take a lovely picture of my three children. Because I know I never will.