Surviving another school picture day
Mon, 09/12/2016 - 4:36pm
Panic consumed me as the glow and obnoxious sound of my alarm startled me from my bed.
It was 6:30 a.m.
It was a Tuesday.
It was deadline day at work.
It was picture day at school.
I erupted from underneath my sheets and slapped my contacts into my blind eyes in probably 2.5 seconds. Sliding through my house like Tom Cruise in that “Risky Business” movie from the 1980s, I quickly realized everyone was still tucked away in their beds.
“Everybody up,” I shouted, hitting the button on the coffee pot. “It’s picture day!!!”
Throwing my own hair on top of my head in a bun that resembled a Sumo wrestler, I began rummaging through my oldest son James’ closet. It was no day for gym shorts and sports shirts. It was picture day. It was time to rip the tags of those button-down shirts and tear that sticker off those freshly pressed jeans.
“Wake up baby,” I said, ripping the Jurassic Park comforter off of James. “Get up. We’ve got to get ready. It’s picture day.”
James immediately began to whimper that there was no possible way it was picture day. His teacher would have reminded him.
“Besides, I have P.E. today, and I want to wear shorts,” he said.
“You are not about to show up for picture day looking like you are heading to a track meet,” I said, throwing the hard as a rock Wranglers to him. “It’s picture day. You have to look nice. Now, hurry up.”
Nosediving into my daughter Elsie’s room next, I immediately grabbed the biggest blue bow I could find. Then I selected a cute fringe outfit from her closet.
“Get up baby girl,” I shouted, already removing her Frozen sleeping gown. “We got to get dressed quickly. It’s picture day, and we have got to do something with your hair.”
Elsie began to cry and get in the fetal position.
“I need a fan,” she demanded. “It’s hot.”
“This ain’t the Ramada Inn,” I replied. “I don’t have time to fan you with palm leaves. It’s picture day, and that means we have to look good.”
Ten minutes later, both James and Elsie were dressed and ready for the bright flash of the photographer’s camera.
James had a look of disgust when I refused to let him have a Pop Tart since it might get on his clothes. He began a one-man protest as he nibbled on a piece of toast.
And Elsie’s head almost appeared to lean with the massive amount of weight from that gigantic blue bow on the right side of her head.
“Everyone looks so good,” I said, as we all headed out the door. “Now don’t forget to smile pretty.”
“Momma,” James began. “It’s not picture day. I know this.”
“How do you know,” I asked. “Trust me, it’s picture day.”
“I want to play kickball today, and now I am going to be wearing church clothes all day,” he said. “I won’t be able to kick for nothing with these tight jeans on.”
Slipping my sunglasses on, I assured James that he would manage just fine in his jeans.
I was still waving my heart out and making “smiling” facial expressions when I dropped them off at school.
I patted myself on the back at the way I handled a near-catastrophe. I even let out a little giggle as I turned the radio up.
Arriving at work, I wasn’t worried at the stress that might come with a hectic deadline. I am a problem solver. I am the person you want on your team. Picture day almost defeated me, but I pressed on.
Plopping down at my desk, I began to look over my calendar to see what the day had in store for me. And then I saw it...
Picture Day...in bold red letters...two days from now.
“He was right,” I said aloud, thinking of James. “He’s gonna kill me.”
I envisioned James sitting on the playground with chaffing marks on his legs from numerous attempts to kick a ball in his overly-starched jeans.
And then I thought of poor Elsie who will probably have to lean up against a wall to support the weight of that gigantic bow on top of her tiny head.
You win, picture day. Until next year...