The Rest of the Story: The Truth About Family Pictures

This past week, Doc, Rosebud and I decided to participate in the time-honored tradition of the family photo session.
The location was beautiful, the sun was shining in a cloudless sky, the leaves were a beautiful shade of rust and gold; I’d spent forever perfectly coordinating our fall outfits–conceded to letting Doc wear his boots, and curled Rosebud’s hair just right.

We were ready.

But see–I’d forgotten the most important detail of all. Rosebud is three.
And three year olds suck sometimes.

After two hours of begging her to sit up straight, look at the circle in the camera, and for Heaven’s sake, SIT STILL–Doc had exhausted his Dad voice, we’d threatened to take away every toy she’d ever owned, and told her she might not be able to sit down for a week.
No matter.
Our typically well-behaved daughter decided that family picture day would be the perfect opportunity to complete her transformation into an official ‘threenager’.

Connie with January June Photography kept trucking through the pursed lips, stuck out tongues, and monster faces that Rosebud insisted on making and that afternoon shared these two incredible preview photos:

Look at that. Would you just look at it? A perfectly happy American family. You’d never know that 7 seconds before this picture was taken, Rose had just kicked her feet, caught Doc in the “tenders”, and yelled “NO MORE PITCHAS.”

And that got me thinking. How often do we measure the success of ourselves and our families up against the snapshots in life rather than in the rest of the story?

The people in this picture look like they have it all together. They don’t look flustered or sweaty or like they’re considering returning their only child back to the Baptist East Hospital from whence she came.

This came from the hands of a gifted photographer, because trust me–that is not the reality of the Whitaker family.

Typically you can find us running out of the house five minutes before after we need to be somewhere with Rosebud still wearing her breakfast milk mustache, and me brushing crumbs from our clothes and throwing on my lipstick from the reflection in the window.

In this social media driven world I am so guilty of falling victim to comparing my world to the snapshots I see of others.

So I’m here to tell you that while snapshots are a beautiful way to capture the memories of these seasons of life, they are not all there is. There are also piles of dirty laundry, no makeup days, and misbehaved three year olds. Don’t get caught up in comparing your worst days to someone else’s best days, and most importantly be the friend and person that takes the time to listen to the rest of the story. Because there is glory in the rest of the story–because there is beauty in the rest of the story, and best of all–because there is grace in the rest of the story.

Rosebud: 1
Family Picture Day: 0

Love and Other Drugs,
E. Hunter W.


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