55. Picture Perfect

55. Picture Perfect

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas!

Picture Perfect

Santa, Please define Good.

~Author Unknown

In a festive red vest with a matching bow tie and corduroy trousers, Zachary was going to look like a little angel for his first Christmas photo.

Too bad he had other ideas.

I guess I should have heeded the warning when he bawled as I buttoned up the dress shirt. Maybe I should have stopped when he kept ninja-kicking the shiny black shoes off as fast as I could put them on his chubby feet. I definitely should have realized that I was in for nothing but trouble when he tried to eat the tie.

But I was a new parent on a mission. If I couldn’t get a thirteen-month-old to look nice for five minutes in order to pose for a few photos, what kind of mother was I?

My husband, bless his heart, snapped pictures like he was wielding a rapid-fire machine gun in hopes that he could catch Zachary displaying a half-smile while his mother belted out “Frosty the Snowman” and made a steady stream of stuffed animals perform moves that would win the Mirror Ball Trophy on Dancing with the Stars. But seeing his parents yell at each other to “move this way” or “try the Cookie Monster toy” only resulted in more tears.

After a miserable half hour, I looked worse than Zachary’s drool-soaked collar. Admitting defeat, I took off the precious clothes. My husband, meanwhile, took the roll of film in for developing—hoping that somehow one of the pictures he snapped might be usable. He returned looking like a kid who received a hand-knit sweater from Grandma instead of the super deluxe racecar he craved.

As we flipped through the proof of our parental ineptitude, Zachary played happily with his trucks. How could this sweet, smiling child be the same one as that Grinch who stole our photographic dreams?

My husband reached for the camera. Sure, Zachary was now clad in a pint-sized football jersey and sweatpants, but he was babbling and laughing. The photos turned out so well that we had difficulty choosing just one.

While it was no fun at the time, Zachary’s day as an uncooperative model provided a good lesson. Children don’t always share the same visions as their parents, no matter how much we may try to convince them. To have a happy household, I was going to need to pick my battles and learn to go with the flow.

And maybe even let my baby (now a teenager) pick his own clothes.

~Beth Braccio Hering

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