Bear in mind, I had the best intentions (and we all know what those pave), so, sometime in July, when the church announces that they are putting out a new directory and that we should go to this handy-dandy website to schedule a time, I am on it. Despite being a month post-partum, I am so on it. I schedule our session, put it on the calendar, and go back to being the lovely and loving embodiment of mother earth for my precious little Super Baby. I am so ill-named, I am grace itself. Except, I'm really not. Because Super 1st Grader is signed up to do fall soccer, and, for some strange reason, my mother earthy self forgets to put that on the calendar. So, a week before, when I finally remember to put soccer on the calendar, I am surprised, and why I still get surprised is a mystery for another time, but I am surprised to realize that soccer collides with our church directory photo shoot time. No matter, I naively say to myself, they have been announcing that there are plenty of times still available. I'll just pop on this here website and reschedule. For a Friday. At 8pm. Yeah, that'll be fine. There's nothing remotely problematic about taking 5 children, under the age of 10, into a space where they are supposed to be reverent, quiet, and still, after their first week of school, at 8:00 at night. That's totally gonna be fine.
And it might have been. You know, with normal children, but I wouldn't know about that. Because I am suddenly home, on Friday afternoon, recovering from the first week of the school drop-off/pick-up/was there a memo I missed because all these other moms are rocking lululemon and I am still wearing maternity pants and a VBS tshirt from 4 years ago. And I am sorta freaking out but I am yoga breathing and reminding myself that I have hours to bath people and comb out summer-damaged hair and select coordinating outfits, when Awkward Dad starts herding children into the van. It's not time, I yell, and he yells back, it totally is time. The toys went on display at midnight! And this is when I realized that Awkward Dad is operating from an entirely different calendar and the only thing on it is Force Friday. And before I have time to question if today is really the best day to go to Toys R Us to gawp at $1000 Lego sets of Hoth and sentient imperial walkers, he has fast-and-furioused himself and 4 of my children out the driveway.
Suddenly robbed of my preparation hours, I have a good cry, remember that I am resilient, bathe Super Baby and put her in a beautiful lace dress that she promptly spits-up all over. So, I have another good cry, remember that I am resilient, let Super Baby hang out in her bassinet in a diaper, and set out nice church-photoy clothes for the other 4 children. Since they have been living in dirty shorts and Star Wars tees for the summer and all of their uniforms are now dirty after a solid week of school, pickins are slim. I come up with: (Super Oldest) a cleanish pair of shorts with a too big plaid button-up shirt that is missing 2 buttons that I hide with a sweater vest despite it being 87 degrees and August, (Super 1st Grader) the uniform shorts he is currently wearing while wandering around Toys R Us in Star Wars induced glee with a too small green buttonup shirt with ink stains on the sleeves that won't button all the way so I am hiding his belly with a tanish vest that sorta matches his shorts if you don't look too close, (Super Kindergartener) a verging on too small dress with a broken zipper that I fix with a safety pin and strict instructions that there be no cartwheels, (Super Toddler) a clean pair of shorts that are only clean because they are slightly too big and his one collared shirt that is wrinkly and definitely too small, and (Super Baby) her only other dress which is beautiful and slightly too big and some white pants that I intend to put her in the second before the photo is taken. I place all of this on the bed, remember that I am resilient, and wait. And wait. And wait. And wait some more.
They get home, full of ideas and waving Christmas wish lists at me, 15 minutes before we have to leave to get to the church on time. 15 minutes. 15. Minutes. I've blocked the next 15 minutes out so you'll just have to imagine it. Just picture this.
By some miracle and due to some speeding, we get to the church. On time. Sorta suitable dressed and not too sticky. To be told that they are running a tad bit over and there are 2 families in front of us. Should be about 15 minutes.
It is actually 30 and I have also blocked that out. There is no video scary enough on youtube to help you imagine trying to keep 5 children, quiet, wearing their nicest clothes, in the church vestibule, for 30 minutes. Frankly, I'm surprised we are all still alive.
We finally are ushered into the room with the backdrop and the lights and the camera and the little foam blocks that people are supposed to stand on and not start throwing at each other like my children are doing and the photographer stares at us like she has never seen children before and I feel really sorry for her because in motion it looks like there are 25 of them and I totally smell her fear but I am also really annoyed that we are taking photos 30 minutes later than anticipated so I stop them from throwing the foam blocks but I don't really do anything about the loud rock-paper-scissors fall-out about who gets to hold the baby for the picture and I think it made her ears bleed a little. It's not my proudest moment.
Nor is what happens next.
What the heck, stop licking things!
No, you can not take off your shirt.
I'm sorry it's itchy but you have to wear it.
Don't touch that!
I don't care if you're hungry, you should have eaten earlier!
Just stop it.
I don't care who started it!
Don't do that with your hands.
Don't do that with your face.
Don't do that at all.
The baby looks like a zombie.
No, obviously not a real one!
Stop making crazy eyes!
If you pinch her again, you will be in a timeout.
Oh,I'll find a place, don't you worry.
Oh, for the love of God!
This is what we went with for the church directory.
Blessed are the awkward,
they shall inherit the inability to