These days you cannot venture on to any social media platform without finding a photograph of one of your friends or families perfect family portrait popping up in your feed. And everyone oohs and aaahs and likes and comments. I will be the first person to raise my hand and say that Im guilty of this as well. We tend to portray the perfect half a second shot as if this is the idyllic life that we live with a well behaved always smiling toddler when in actual fact, nothing can be further from the truth.
Generally there is someone standing behind the camera, jumping and clowning about to distract our son and making him laugh, while we are just trying to make sure that we don’t look as haggard as we feel. Thankfully most photographers that deal with family photos are so used to this behavior and are well prepared.
Recently we had the privilege of attending my brother in law’s wedding and our son was the ring bearer. The wedding started at the tail end of his nap time so we made sure that we got him in bed for an early nap to preempt any fatigue meltdowns (its called proactive parenting, apparently) and he was in great spirits because he got to wear his new shoes and I naively thought that the day would go down without a hitch. Thankfully the service was in the church on the farm where we live in South Africa and we had been in and out of it all morning making sure the final touches of décor were complete. We walked down the isle with no incident and made it through the gorgeous service with ease.
Half way through the service it started to rain, but like seriously! This, of course, complicates the photography session for after the wedding but none the less they got some stunning photos and then came the time for family photos and it was at this point that our toddler decided that this was the last straw and refused to cooperate, at all! No amount of coaxing or funny faces was going to change his mind, and eventually we had to abandon the idea of having him in any photos, and Im quite sure many that he was in are ruined. But it also reminds us how futile it is actually to try negotiate with a toddler, because in their mind you are the terrorist not the other way around.
The next morning we had our close family members join us back on the farm for a brunch and Easter egg hunt because it was Easter Sunday. It was such an amazing day getting to know family members who I had not met yet and also getting to know the new family from my sister in law’s side. Another amazing experience was having the oldest living Liguori family member present and with my son being the youngest they could finally meet. It also gave us an opportunity to have some proper family photos taken in a more relaxed environment. Of course, Daniel did not cooperate until his Aunt started antics behind the photographer and we finally got a few gorgeous smiles out of him.
Thankfully our photographer has a sense of humour and she sent me a lovely before and after photo of Daniel and his melt downs and it was poignant reminder that not everything in life is as rosy as it may seem on facebook!