Stress-inducing school photos: Just tuck in a t-shirt?

It was pretty fitting that the forms came home from school because I was just noticing how much dust had formed on last year’s school pictures. Now that we’ll be getting new ones, I suppose I can hold off on the Pledge until I replace the toothless, hairless smiles from last year with brand new ones.
School picture day is extremely insignificant in the context of the entire world, but in the tiny world that my children and I live in, it is a huge deal. They are very concerned about what they are going to wear to be preserved in childhood history, and I am very concerned about ordering enough copies for all of the grandparents, not to mention remembering to send the money to school that day.
Of course, there are other things I worry about too, all which stem from the disastrous memories of my very own school picture days. In first grade, the cowlick that still exists on the right side of head was in full force which only complimented the bangs that my mom cut at a too-steep angle. And I can remember standing in line in elementary school forever, waiting for the two seconds you got to sit down and smile. Then you’d wait months to find out if your eyes were open or your smile was cattywhompus in the yearbook. This same kind of humiliation continued on all the way through my school-aged career, with the culmination being my senior pictures when I woke up with those puffy sleepy-eyes and wore a daisy vest I sewed myself and my grandfather’s fedora hat. (Oh, the nineties!)
To this day, I can’t believe my parents spent the money to buy any of those shots in a large print size.
But this year photo day is causing us problems even before the actual day arrives. My son, Captain Camouflage, refuses to wear anything with any class. In his mind there are two types of clothing: comfy clothes and fancy clothes. Fancy clothes consist of the tuxedo he wore at a recent wedding, and his comfy clothes are all grass and mud-stained or ripped (he is a boy, through and through.) I just don’t think the tux would fit in very well with the other preschoolers.
Confiding in some close friends over lunch yesterday, I told them that I was beginning to worry about picture day because my son doesn’t have any decent clothes that I can convince him to wear. And buying something new that he will only wear for two hours doesn’t make all that much sense, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.
And bless their hearts, both of them brought me, at separate times, clothes from their own sons to borrow. They are pretty spectacular friends, with very well-dressed sons, and I was pleased as punch until I opened up the bags of clothes.
They didn’t look like anything like my son. If I dressed him in a clean shirt with a collar, I’d probably have to put a nametag on him. He’d be unrecognizable. And why would I want a picture of someone who doesn’t look like my kid at all?
For that reason, we decided to dress him in his nicest of “comfy” clothes, something that will best represent who he is this year at school. And who he is, is a rough and tumble boy who loves camping, skateboarding and building forts. I want a real and truthful memory of him, and if that means he won’t be the nicest dressed, well, it won’t be the first time. Or the last time, either.
Chances are it’ll be a fabulous shot, and I’ll be reordering large sizes to pass out to the family. I know my parents will be happy to hang it on the wall, right next to the captured moment shot of my sleepy eyes and grandpa’s hat.
Karrie and her family live in Orrville. Drop her a line at


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