I just had one of those “Wow, I’m a bad mom” moments. Or at least “Wow, my memory is HORRIBLE.” See, today is picture day for my 8-year-old. Unfortunately, even though it’s been written in my schedule book for almost a month, and even though I look at my schedule book every day, I forgot it was picture day until an hour after Braeden had left for school when I grabbed my schedule book to figure out what’s going on today. That makes me three-for-three on forgetting to dress the kids up for pictures this year.
When I was little, my mom always tried to go all-out for picture day. Somehow she always remembered what day picture day was, and made sure that not only were we dressed up for pictures, but that we also had our hair done and were shipped off to school with specific “do/do-not” instructions regarding accessories. My sister Krystan was specifically ordered to NOT wear her beloved pink pearl necklace for her first grade pictures. I still remember the look on my mom’s face when the package finally arrived, and there’s my little sister’s picture – gap-toothed smile, brand-new yellow dress, hair curled especially for the occasion… and a pink pearl necklace. In hindsight, it makes the picture more memorable because of the story behind it, but boy was my mom mad at the time!
Just because mom was so diligent about remembering picture day and prepping us for the big day doesn’t mean there weren’t some spectacularly bad pictures, though.
Four years old – pretty cute, huh?
First grade – still not too bad…
And then here’s my 2nd grade picture. I loved that dress. I remember the photographer calling me “Little Red Riding Hood” when it was my turn. I also remember BEGGING for the perm that resulted in that horrible hairstyle when it grew out a little. (I wanted to look like Little Orphan Annie. I don’t know why).
This isn’t an official school picture, but it’s an excellent example of my incredible fashion sense.
Fifth grade… I don’t know why I was wearing pigtails. I don’t know why they’re crooked. I don’t know why the photographer couldn’t get me centered in the picture. I do remember that my mom CLEARLY told me to wear my hair down for pictures. I’m also pretty certain that I wasn’t supposed to wear that shirt for pictures.
Sixth grade, wearing one of my mom’s dresses. This is what was supposed to happen on picture day – forced into a dress, hair curled.
And here’s my sister’s infamous “pink pearls” picture. This is the same school year (possibly the same day) as the above picture. Even if I hadn’t already known that, you can tell by the curling iron style mom was implementing that year.
Seventh grade. The huge lacy hair bow blends into the background fairly well, so that’s good.
Ninth grade. Oh god. I’m not sure what happened this year – maybe I didn’t tell my mom it was picture day, or possibly she forgot, or maybe she was just letting me start making my own decisions (if so, wow, I was really not ready for that much responsibility). Either way, I don’t know what I was thinking with that shirt. Baby blue sweatshirt with teddy bears on it. I’ve never had a great sense of style, but GEEZ.
Junior year. I was trying to grow my bangs out, but they hadn’t gotten there yet, so I was wearing a black stretchy headband. Really not a great look for me. And that green silk shirt was acceptable back then (it was 1992, and at least at my high school, silk shirts were THE THING that year).
Senior pictures… not so bad, I guess. The glasses are slightly less dorky than in previous years (in that the frames aren’t thick and plastic). I did a few “costume changes” – black silk shirt (still “in” – or at least I thought so) and green slacks (what?); green mock turtleneck with some necklace that I’m sure was meaningful to me at the time; the obligatory varsity jacket/band geek shot; a couple of close-ups. Still no fashion maven, but acceptable.
Really, though, my fashion sense has NOT improved over the years. Those senior pics were twenty years ago (!!!), and I’m still just guessing when it comes to deciding what looks good. And I’m usually still wrong.
There was a time when I was good at getting the kids dressed up cute for school pictures. I don’t remember when that changed – I know I have some cute school pictures of Kidlet the Third, but I think Picture Day Prep starting going downhill when he was little. (He was diagnosed with autism when he was 2, right around the same time I was getting divorced from his dad, so things were kind of hectic then. And now. Always.)
So, my child showed up for picture day with messy hair that badly needs a trim and in a t-shirt that I settled for because it was clean… but at least he didn’t have marker on his face today. I don’t think he did, at least… well, there’s always retake day!