Happy Homemaker, Ph.D.

A novice homemaker's attempts to use her engineering Ph.D. to serve her family

A Picture Worth A Thousand Words

I took my girls to get their pictures taken at a studio in the mall for the first time last month.  I’ve felt rather guilty seeing friends’ and relatives’ beautiful pictures of their babies and knowing that I had not yet taken our now 2-year-old to have professional photos taken.  I didn’t go out of guilt; I went because it was something I thought was important – and because a dear friend has been gently encouraging me for about six months to go.

I learned a lot about the process of going in for pictures, but I learned even more about myself.

I learned how my perfectionism can be paralyzing at times.  One of the reasons I hadn’t taken my oldest in for pictures when she was a babe was my idea that everything had to be perfect.  What if I chose a dress I’d regret?  What if  it wasn’t ironed?  What would people think that I didn’t have one of those super-cute hair bows on her that nearly every baby girl seems to have these days?   Or that her bangs weren’t cut very straight.  (My talents are much more in the areas of science, engineering, and statistics, not style.)  My mistakes would be captured and kept for a lifetime; my failures, undeniable and hanging on the wall.

What lies!  What sin in believing them!

I took my girls in.  The dress I ironed was wrinkled again before we arrived.  Clara pulled out a pigtail.  We couldn’t find one of the shoes I’d planned for Clara to wear, so we went in sandals that were too small (but Clara delighted that her painted toes could be seen!).  Melody’s headband didn’t match her dress well (off white vs. white).  AND EVERYTHING WAS OKAY!  The shoes weren’t in the picture.  I quickly remade the pigtail.  The wrinkles weren’t noticeable.  What silliness to have been deterred by such thinking for so long!

I learned it’s a bit of a workout to attempt this photo thing.  I was exhausted after the three hours away from home and the preparation beforehand.  And, that includes very minimal travel time as the mall is an easy 10-minute drive away.  Oh, and that encouraging friend of mine actually came with us and blessed me with some great help!

I also agonize over decision-making.  Once I make a decision, I rarely have regrets, but the process is somewhat brutal as I expect myself to make the best possible choice from a systems approach, meaning in this case that I purchased the right number of photos without neglecting a pose I cherished at the lowest possible price or within budget.  My brain started to work out an algorithm of prioritizing my favorites, optimizing the value by using a collage and the advertised inexpensive package.  It took some time.

I learned that there is nothing out there cuter than my girls’ smiles, but a studio isn’t necessarily the best place to capture their joy.  While Melody gave us big smiles while we were there (She smiles a lot, like her mama.), Clara doesn’t smile on request well.  Instead, her “cheese face” includes tightly-closed eyes, a wrinkled-up nose, and a stretched mouth that might look a bit like a smile.  The real smiles are much more fun than the forced or artificial ones.

The studio pictures are great, but it’s hard to beat capturing one of the many moments of joy at home that shows the fun my girls have together.

My happy girls

Yes, Clara is in her pajamas.  Melody’s outfit is too small and coming unsnapped at the bottom.  The special blanket my dear friend made for us isn’t draped over the chair very well.  Hair is not brushed or styled, I was probably still in my pajamas also, and you know what?

I think it’s perfect.

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