A Picture of Our Family

Misty_Max_Hamel_Sheenism

I take a lot of pictures. Mostly of my kid, and the food that I eat, once in a blue moon I attempt a selfie. Looking through pictures of our family through the years is one of my favourite things to do. I kinda miss the days when we had a stack of photo albums in our living room. 

For three and half years, there is one photo I have been actively avoiding–the official family photo. You know the whole ordeal, hire a cool photographer, decide on outfits and location, pose as a family and mark that moment officially in the history of your family. I love it when families do this but I have been avoiding my own like the plague.

This is the most genuine smile anyone has ever captured on Max! Photo by Sheenism

This is the most genuine smile anyone has ever captured on Max! Photo by Sheenism

I haven’t unraveled all the reasons. It’s not because I’m not photogenic. It’s not even because I know that it is difficult to get kids to cooperate for a photo session. Those would be normal hurdles. In large part, it is because having a family photo of me and Max is solid evidence that we are a family unit of two. That picture was never in the plan. We never got around to getting our official family of three photos and then I was sure there would be photos of our family of four and maybe even photos of a family of five. 

This is our fourth Christmas as #MaxAndMom and things are good. Life is good. So it’s strange to me when I still feel that heavy lump in my throat when I am faced with the concrete reality of how my planned future is so different than what is. Family photos is one of those things. How to sign a Christmas card is another, so much so that I have almost not sent cards one year and then another year ordered cards but didn’t send them. 

This year, my parents planned a very last minute photo shoot because all of the grandkids happened to be in Calgary at the same time. The sudden nature of it must have numbed me because I threw on a jacket and skirt and we headed out without me giving “the family photo” a second thought.

Then the pictures came…Sheena did an amazing job capturing genuine moments that I will treasure forever. Moments that Max will look back on some day and hopefully feel nostalgic about in a really good way. I’m so, so grateful that we have these photos. Yes, even the official family photo. 

Messy hair, don't care--love this moment!!! Photo by Sheenism

Messy hair, don’t care–love this moment!!! Photo by Sheenism

It was very cold in Confederation Park but my mom insisted that we go outside for good pics. Photo by Sheenism.

It was very cold in Confederation Park but my mom insisted that we go outside for good pics. Photo by Sheenism.

Funny, how something so beautiful can trigger happy and sad tears at the same time. I don’t have it all figured out, grief and loss and moving on are tricky roads to navigate. Firsts are hard. Seconds can be hard too. I do know this, just because it is hard doesn’t mean it is not healthy and healing and good. This little family unit, and the official family photo are good.

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