Let's just go over these details. Last night when I saw I had a "missed call" from the familiar school number, I was a teensy bit hopeful that maybe we would have a kind one hour delay. Not for the weather as much, but just because it was Monday and we were all tired from the rude awakening of the time change. The springing forward was inevitable, but it's' excruciating pain forgotten year to year. Of course I did not answer the call as I was in an AIG meeting and plainly forgot to listen to the message.
I accept that my neglect of this day is entirely my responsibility. In my defense, I was Johnny on the spot a few years ago when I was a new school mom. I would analyze the fancy print out from Life Touch or similar company and choose my package while envisioning what my darling blond son would look the best in, a gingham Vineyard Vines shirt or a blue Johnnie-O. Oh, my days of carefree choices. I will not just blame Amos and point out that now I am choosing augmentative communication devices. At least I think I am, though still not entirely convinced that it's the best route and no one can tell me. And so, though I seem to have bigger choices on my plate I truthfully have just gotten lazy.
I remembered today as I woke up my ten year old son after a late night of playing video games with his dad (I was drinking wine after an AIG meeting). I cheerfully picked out a blue collared shirt and he said in his most grumpy voice and accusing tone, "Why? You never buy the pictures anyways". Ooh, sucker punch but alas, he was right and so I left him to go to school in his orange Nike long sleeved t-shirt. It was a transparent outward symbol of his mother's neglect and embarrassment at her complacency. The idea of choosing a picture plan and being organized enough to find my checkbook before 7am makes me break into a cold sweat. This undoes my guilt of keeping the proofs that were sent home before they wised up and made me pay for the picture taking itself.
Class Picture Day. Class picture day has been added by some entity that holds grudges against the parents who choose to not buy pictures or accidentally have kept the proofs. I had no plan of being one of them, at least the first time it happened. The second time was my retribution for the actual picture day itself. No, it is not enough to have just the maliciousness of school picture day. Nope, now there must be two days for this mother to feel a twinge of guilt as she once again drops the ball and on a Monday nonetheless.
I remember the words of a dear friend who lives in an affluent suburb (Wake County) where the photography session is still free of charge. Evidently stolen proofs are supplemented by the many parents who scan the brochure for the best plan not just the cheapest. She virtually ignores picture day for her older children and told me ever so casually, "They may as well look like themselves". What a convincing truth. I want to remember Blair in her oversized soccer jersey, a Messi special from her older brother. Russell is the one who wore a collared shirt every day as a suggestion of a t-shirt with words provoked outrage and his vehement stance, "That makes me feel like I'm going to throw up". Thomas in his neon yellow, road construction crew signature clothing, according to his conservative father. Amos, most mornings still in his pajamas, whether at the hospital for therapy sessions or grocery store trips.
I will remember my children through my words and the pictures I take capturing their bright smiles with gapped teeth and no teeth. I will never have a picture frame with the thirteen school pictures neatly pressed into the pre-cut mat. As much as I envy those mothers, I must be true to myself and continue to revolt against picture day. Perhaps once Amos is in kindergarten, I will be rested and most likely coerce him into Russell's blue gingham button down and tie. There is always tomorrow.