Thursday, December 18, 2008

not always what you picture

We had a little trouble capturing a Christmas card this year.  I wouldn't expect one if I were you.  Doesn't Drew (in the middle) look like he's starting a modeling career though?  Check out that perfect uncaring pout.  And believe me, it's a pose.  He was in a perfectly good mood here.  It was Jake's mood that threw things off, as evidenced in the second picture here in which Michael is holding Jake's teary face toward the camera.  Merry Christmas, indeed.

I can get kind of upset about things not turning out as I'd like them to.  But, I don't know, this year I just love these pictures.  And not like you love those blooper pictures that you try for - you know, "Now everyone look silly!"  No, these are seriously unfortunate pictures.  Not a one of them turned out pretty.  And I didn't care.  I was really tired that night.  But I find that today - when I'll probably choose the least appalling one and upload it to Walgreens - I still don't care.  

What I care about is how much we laugh together, whether or not we're understanding each other and focusing on the same important things in life, whether or not the kids feel loved.  You can't put that stuff in a Christmas picture.

So I gave up early on the picture-taking that night.  Between each shot, I swear, they were rolling around on the floor wrestling - arms and legs flailing, Jake getting cheered up by not being forced to perform for Pete's sake!  And then I would just click the timer on the camera and yell okay and they'd plop themselves into some sort of seated position while I squeezed into the mayhem.  After a few shots, I just got tired of stopping the fun.  

Christmas won't be perfect for any of us this year probably.  We'll cut corners and hang fewer lights and buy smaller presents.  With the chaotic pace of life, sometimes Christmas isn't as poetic as we want it to be.  The night I put up the nativity I found that with three small boys it's not as easy to capture the solemnity of the moment as we always did with Mom.  I ended up getting the box down and yelling to various rooms, "Everybody get in here!  Linus is telling the Christmas story, and we're all going to sit here and watch it!"  So they did.  And then they snatched at the shepherd and wise men and baby Jesus and plopped them on the shelf with excitement nowhere near solemnity.

And last night I had it in mind to watch It's a Wonderful Life.  I was determined it was the only way I could go to bed happy.  But we all went to the Y instead.  I took a yoga class, John had basketball practice, Jake found that heaven is a rec center play room.  We were there way too late to watch a movie afterwards.  And an evening at the Y is such a different picture than an evening in front of Jimmy Stewart with chocolate and angels getting their wings and such.  I mean we ended the night playing Ms. Pacman and Galaga for goodness sake.  

You just can't decide ahead of time what life is supposed to look like - even Christmas - and only be happy with that.  It's like our Christmas card I guess.  I'd rather live a great picture than take one.


Matt Bowman said...

Sounds like you've been reading the Tao Te Ching ;-)

Tracy said...

I absolutely love this little glimpse you've given of life in the Bohon home! I wish all Christmas cards had pictures like this... you can almost hear the laughter as you look at them! It took me a long time to realize I needed to lay down my well-thought-out expectations for the holidays and just take time to enjoy what was right in front of me. And what a joyful bunch you are!

Kelly Hoeckelberg-Young said...

I LOVE those pictures ... they are wonderful and made me smile ... and they are REAL!!! It makes us feel like we're all in this together ... because, believe me, we've taken many a picture just like that! :-)

Anonymous said...

LOL I absolutely LOVE these pics!! These Bohon boys just kill me, all FOUR of them. If you send one of these, it will almost be like you're sending a card that comes with sound, canned laughter, because I can hear it while looking at them.
I love it!

Lucinda said...

Things are very tight here as well - but for some strange unexplainable reason I'm really loving the lack of flowing finances (or as was the case in years past - flowing credit). We've committed to stop using credit cards (since August) and have since found just how far we can stretch a pay check. I think I love it most of all because of the need for creativity. This year we've purchased a $10 elf costume for Lizzy which will be used as a Link costume from the Legend of Zelda games and we're going to do a quest around the house (just like in the game) so she has to solve clues to find her next item/weapon. It should be a blast - and it's sooo cheap.
Merry Christmas Bohans!

AmyB. said...

I loved this one, Seren!!

Matt and I had/have all but given up this year on doing the advent/Christmas story thing. I didn't even want to do it at all at first, but Matt was determined. We pulled out our advent story book ornaments. One ornament for each night with a part of the story. Well, we didn't start as soon as we would have liked and we were 11 books behind! It was horrible trying to get all four kids to sit still and listen as Matt read and talked briefly about the story. Three out of four are furniture jumpers and the later it gets the more wound up they get. Then at the one point of quiet, Nick accidently knocked over this bunch of bamboo sticks I have in the corner and it crashed down on top of all the legos on the floor. The kids were fighting over who got the blanket, who got the seat by mom, who got to pet the dog, etc. The only part they seemed excited about that night was getting to hang the book/ornaments on the tree. Matt and I were so exhausted and frazzled all we could do was look at each other's pained expressions.

The evenings since have been much better, but the rising excitement in the Bowman household can almost be tangibly felt as Christmas approaches.

Seren, we have not had a family photo in almost 5 years! I have a very hard time imagining anyone sitting still long enough for anything close to a good photo. But you are inspiring, I think I will have to try for a "fun" photo shoot. Thanks!!

serenity said...

That's awesome that I've inspired you to try it, Amy. Another reason I was more relaxed about it this year is because I just love getting pictures in the mail. And I never care whether they are professional or perfect. I just like to see the faces. And I like it best when the grown-ups are in it too. :) Maybe you could do a New Year's version!