Our houses tend to be adorned with the very best family photos, showing happy, shiny people with pearly-white smiles and unstained clothing. As I sit here and gaze around my family room I see my daughter’s pre-school photo.
Her hair is in perfect pigtails, her hands clasped neatly in her lap, her smile wide. There’s one of my sisters and I at my little brother’s birthday, looking off camera, arms flung around each other, joy apparent on our faces. A photo from Grandparent’s Day at my children’s school takes pride of place on the mantel showing my mum, dad and mother-in-law standing behind my oldest child Philip who is beaming. Our wedding photo is next to it showing my husband and I as well as his two boys.
There’s no sign of my daughter’s annoyance at having to line up at wait “ages” for her turn at a portrait photo.
The photo from my brother’s birthday shows no hint of how out of place my sister’s and I felt amongst my brother’s much younger friends.
Grandparent’s Day, a photo showing beaming smiles and no sign of their struggle to walk from classroom to classroom in time to visit six grandchildren.
That wedding photo looks perfect and gives no indication of the massive wardrobe malfunction I was suffering involving forgotten strapless bra and a suddenly loose wedding dress.
Then there are those photos that communicate exactly how awkward, how messy, how crazy family life can be. They are the photos I’m most interested in seeing. The ones tucked away in secret drawers never to be seen from or heard from again.