Why Four-Year-Olds Don't Carry Calendars

The Human Cannonball came bounding out of school at pick-up yesterday skipping, and singing, "tomorrow is picture day, tomorrow is picture day." His very un-photogenic mom (that's me) felt the anxiety bubbling up. Residual anxiety from my own years of school pictures. Never feeling like I looked good enough for the snapshot that would represent that year of my life each year. For the pretty girls, I always imagined this day felt almost pleasant, a chance to flash their cute grin for the shutter, and knowing that it would always capture their best side. For a funky looking redhead who was teased for her freckles and called "carrot-top," whose smile revealed an "open bite" and various orthodontic appliances through the years (I actually remember my 9th grade picture, taken just 2 months after I'd had major jaw surgery. The swelling had not totally subsided, and my cheeks looked like little chipmunks) picture day was a nightmare.

The Human Cannonball was so darned excited about picture day, I set aside my vicarious anxiety and celebrated with him (also pushing away thoughts about how I wished I'd known sooner what the dates of pictures were, the Human Cannonball is desperate for a haircut... oh well).  He looks at himself in the mirror and sees what I see, a handsome, joyful, perfectly made young man.  He has no reason to dread picture day.

I have had an unsettled feeling since yesterday, needing to frequently remind myself that my anxiety is around my own feelings about the weight of picture days from my youth, and those are not his. The truth is, I will adore a picture of the Human Cannonball even if his hair is sticking up, because he is perfectly who he is, and he is perfectly my son.  When he is eighteen, and we are celebrating his high school graduation, and we look back at this picture, I will remember the precocious, smart, hilarious, joyful child he is now.

So this morning, as he was getting dressed, I felt calmed as I was pulling the picture form out of his backpack. I began the process of looking through the different picture packages, and something caught my eye.  October.  It is still September.  PICTURES AREN'T UNTIL NEXT WEEK! I can't believe that I took a scheduling cue from my four-year-old.

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