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Senior Portraits

Posted Sep 11 2009 2:13pm
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. We've been dealing with senior portraits for a couple of months now. Most of those thousand words should probably not be repeated.
I have a line of senior pictures across the buffet. Mike and Stacey had the standard formal senior portraits, and they look very nice. Brianna's is more casual. She's holding a sunflower, against her green sweater. She's a bit of a diva, and the camera caught that. Then there is Dylan. He actually had two poses. One in his letterman jacket. That was his personal favorite, so we got that, but the one I love is just a shot of him wearing his favorite Fox tee-shirt, outside, gazing off to the side with that grin of his. The camera caught his relaxed nature well. I was also pleased to discover that the photographer could edit the picture. That was good. I loved the expression on his face, but was not so wild about the toothpaste on his tee shirt.
Cara is the youngest of the herd, so when she started talking about her senior portraits, this was not a big surprise to us. Been there, done that. We selected the photographer. Little did we know that our torment was just beginning.
Unlike the others, Cara began to obsess. She obsessed about what to wear. She had nothing suitable in her closet. Moreover, she also discovered that there was not one thing in any area store that was suitable for senior pictures. I ventured that just maybe she was being a little too particular. She gave me a disgusted look. In seeking consolation from her best friend Sarah, they were able to find the perfect outfit. Turns out the outfit had been hiding Sarah's closet the whole time.
Was the torment over? No. Sadly it was not. Because then Cara began to worry about her hair. She kept walking out of her bedroom during the next few days. She would say, "How do you like my hair?" I would look and I would say, "It looks very nice." This earned me yet another disgusted look. "You did not even look. Why don't you just say, 'Not interested...' "
I am not a girly girl kind of mom. I felt my shortcomings keenly. The truth is, I couldn't see any difference from the latest style and the last half dozen or so hair styles she had emerged from her room with. I was really trying to be enthusiastic and encouraging, but darn it, after awhile, I began to get a bit exasperated. I explained it to her. "Listen," I said, "I don't care what you wear. I don't care how your hair is. I just want a good picture that captures you as you were in 2007. I think that you are a beautiful girl. Your pictures will be fine."
She shot me a yet another disgusted look. She retreated to her bedroom, and the door shut me out.
Now I remember my senior portrait day. I simply showed up at the high school at the pre-appointed time. In those days, you wore a nice shirt, prayed that your hair did not choose that day to do something funky. You sat in front of a screen set up in the nurse's office, and the photographer took pictures, maybe three. That was it. I knew that things had changed a bit in 32 years, but oh my! Cara's trip to the studio lasted a full hour. Carefully selected music blasted as Cara posed. She stood, she sat, she laid on the floor, she was outside, she was inside, she changed clothes. I got bored about halfway through Cara's session. I played with the photographer's puppies. Cara shot me disgusted looks in between camera shots. The puppies gave me no disgusted looks. Is it a mere coincidence that I so love dogs? I think not.
Finally the picture taking was done. Was the torment was over? Of course not. A couple weeks later, we were sorting through hundreds of pictures on the computer, trying to select 18 pictures. I was looking for that perfect picture that captured the true essence of Cara . Every picture I loved, she hated. Several times she said "Ew, Mom! That's my disgusted look!" I cocked my head and looked closer. "I thought I recognized it," I said. She gave me a live action disgusted look. It probably took an hour, but we were able to settle on 18 pictures. No blood was shed.
Was the torment over? Heck no. A couple weeks later, we received a booklet in the mail. From those 18 proofs, we had to choose 2. I picked my choices. Cara picked hers. Tim picked his. Only problem is that we had picked 6 different pictures. Cara took the book to school and her friends pored over the pictures, giving her their opinions. Backed with the all important opinions of her friends, she came home to argue her case. We argued back, in a most loving, Christian family sort of way. By this time, disgusted looks were flying everywhere.
Cara would not back down. Finally, she said it out loud. In an impassioned voice, she said, "But these are the pictures that everyone is going to remember me by for the rest of my life. I don't want to be remembered as a DORK!"
Silly, naive child. I remember looking at my parents' yearbooks and thinking about how goofy everyone looked in the 50s. Probably laughed at their pictures with my friends. Still, it was a shock when I heard my own extremely rude children looking at all the cool kids from the 70s, laughing at how goofy WE looked. I hated to tell Cara. She can spend as much time as she likes, agonizing over these pictures. 20 years from now, she's probably going to have snotty children of her own flipping the pages of her yearbook. They will laugh like crazy at how goofy all the kids look.
Grandma will be laughing too. And I imagine that Cara will probably give me a disgusted look.
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