I have a mommy confession.
It’s more like I have a mommy obsession.
Every fall, I find myself in valiant pursuit of that one precious all-the-children picture.
And every year, there is one backdrop that has never let me down…
The Weston Red Barn Farm.
It’s rustic and charming and surrounded by all things precious.
But this year, as I pulled out my camera, I sensed failure when my husband said, “Honey, do you think we should just go to the grocery store fall thing? I mean Weston is a hike and…”
To which I interrupted with, “But it’s tradition and lovely and the kids can ride the pony and remember the apple donuts? DO NOT forget about the apple donuts. Heaven in a bag, babe.”
(Truth be told, I had him at the word “donut.”)
So we went to the charming farm.
I knew we were toast the second we got out of the van and Drew said, “Mom, I am SOOOOOOO hot. I think I might die.” But I still shot him my “Suck it up, kid. It may be 80 + degrees and your long-sleeved black Halloween shirt may be an oven but this is for posterity.”
Not two minutes later, I was with him, dying and all.
My sweatshirt was now a sauna. My hormones, a hellish monster. And had another minute passed, I would have wholeheartedly launched into the pig trough for sweet relief but mercifully, I was distracted when I heard the word “pony.”
(Sweet heavens, if I hadn’t promised them all a pony ride.)
The pony was up the hill…the heinous hill of no return.
Combine the not-so-sturdy Snap and Go with pebbled terrain and my not-so-graceful gait and we might as well have been climbing Everest.
Not to mention that I had already said “excuse me” more times in that one hour than I have my entire life. Every time I tripped and stumbled, I bumped someone. Because to the point, THERE WERE SO MANY BLESSED PEOPLE THERE.
(I swear someone told them about the donuts.)
But for tradition’s sake, we still oomphed and umphed and excused ourselves up the hill. It was only after reaching the top of the precious thing that we came to the tragic realization that THERE WERE NO PONY RIDES.
Bless. My. Sweatshirt.
So we turned around, trod back down the pebbled path and just about the time I convinced myself that the disappointment would build character, my dear eldest pipes in with, “This is boring,” which prompts me to say, “I’ve got nothing, sister…just go jump in the straw.”
(Try not to be intimidated by such mom awesomeness.)
It was at this point my hubs felt the need to reiterate, “I think the fall festival two miles away would have been a way better tradition.” I didn’t even protest. “Ugh…you are probably right…why did I think this would be magical?!?!?
The hubs wisely stayed silent.
But as we made our way back to the pumpkins, I barfed the most unholy words,
“Let’s just try for one more picture.”
So we did.
And then it happened…
Children screamed. Babies were almost dropped. Sophie bolted through the barbed wire.
And I kept promising donuts to anyone who would listen to me.
Then the picture-taking devolved into pumpkin-picking and to the entire public that visited the farm, I wholeheartedly apologize.
We were yelling.
Not “I’m so mad” yelling. But the “Lord-please-don’t-let-us-lose-a-child-now” kind. We were just so close, so focused, so intent on getting the hoot out of there that we just had to keep it together.
It was ugly. Full-on. U-G-L-Y.
But remember the donuts? Across the street? The ones I referred to as heaven in a bag?
Well, I ate FIVE…and it helped.
But even as the cinnamon and sugar dripped most gloriously from my mouth, I came to a conclusion.
Precious pictures are needed. They remind this memory-challenged mama of how I really feel at the end of day when all the chaos has quieted. When I can run my hands through their sweaty bedheads and touch their perfect little noses and see the messy beautiful so clearly in each of them.
But I’m finally to a place where I need the 29 ridiculously accurate pictures too.
If only to shout, “WE ARE A REAL FAMILY!!!!”
One that messes up and falters and falls. One that skins their knees and has to apologize. One that can plan to have a magical experience and end up with the pumpkin patch on steroids.
One that needs Jesus, people.
Oh, how we need Him.
So as you plan the Thanksgiving dinners and take Christmas card pictures and deck the halls and all that jazz, remember my family and the yelling and the donut therapy and rejoice in this:
Real people have real families that really need Jesus.
And even though we may have more pictures that end up awkward and bizarre and more crazy than cute, in the end, when we’ve tripped and stumbled and fallen all over ourselves, when we’ve tried and failed through all those 29 moments in-between, He surprises us with what we have been looking for all along…
Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew, one-year-old Sophie, and her new little miracle Maddie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out.