I Gave in to the Racket

Well, I gave into the racket called school Spring Pictures this morning. I've avoided it nearly every year before. The flyer gets lost in my junk mail pile and then I forget all about the opportunity to pay thirty-something dollars for two five by sevens and twelve wallets of my kid with her head tilted in an awkward position with her fist on her chin or else her arms folded on some picket fence.

I'm against spring pictures. The photographer sits you on a swivel chair or some crate and asks you to keep moving your head and shoulders until he can tell it feels one hundred percent unnatural...and then asks you to hold it. A couple of pictures are snapped while you force your eyes to stay open and smile nervously as your classmates watch while they wait in line behind you.

Pictures are supposed to capture an event like your birthday or at least your trip to Dairy Queen to buy a dipped cone after a hard week at school. Pictures should show personality...individuality, not pose A, B, C or D against a pulled-down mottled screen.

But I took my loss today. Our youngest, the one who sees value in those things l want to discard, asked for spring pictures and she's getting them. I tried to complain about the cost as I filled out my check for package H but my husband, with a gentle head shake, dissuaded me from using that liberty.

I straightened her hair and gave her an air kiss before she left as not to disturb the light layer of lip gloss she'd applied. She looked pretty and confident as she walked down the sidewalk despite the fact that I didn't share in her eagerness.

As unexcited as I am about this photo-op, here's what I hope for her spring pictures...and well, for her life. I hope she keeps her eyes open...wide open...as to experience excitement in things others might consider mundane or a thirty one dollar waste of time. I hope she smiles her real smile, the one that is convinced that life is good and beautiful and worth capturing, believing she is a valued part of it all.

May I learn to treasure the things she shows me, the things I've long forgotten or just somehow missed. And when her picture comes back weeks from now, beautiful innocence preserved, may I put that thing in a frame and look at it every chance I get.

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