I am drowning in a sea of school photos. Scattered around my office, they're covering the walls, floors and sticking out of window sills begging to be put into frames but I'm reluctant to do it. Each fall, the girls leave the house meticulously groomed and ready for evening wear but by the time the photo is taken, nearly all of them have had some outer body experience and come back looking glassy-eyed and confused. Hair askew, slumped shoulders, ripped collars where there were only pristine necklines before; every photo tells a story.
Daughter 4: 8yrs - This child tries to leave for school everyday in full makeup and heels. After wrestling her to the ground on picture day and cursing the uncle who gave her a makeup set for Christmas (I'll get you, Robert, oh yes, I will) and scrubbing off purply sparkly eyeshadow off her cheeks, she managed to make it to school in a nice dress and I let her wear the heels. Upon receiving the photos a month later, I saw that her best friend had smuggled in her own makeup kit and they had applied it during the line for photos in the hallway. D4 and friend have matching peacock green eyeshadow (over the eyes this time) with orange under-the-eyes coat of shadow to highlight their cheekbones and draw attention to their blue lipstick. They have lovely apple cheeks set aglow with Hello Kitty tattoos from D4's uncle (he is now banned from our house). Since D4 had lost a tooth earlier that week, she proudly displayed the hole by sticking her tongue through it. After my shock had subsided, I showed D4 the photo and asked what she thought about it. Her reaction? "My HAIR! I was supposed to wear it in Princess Leia braids that day."
Daughter 3: 11yrs - D3 is a unique child. I blame myself for punking out her hair and dressing her in black for the first week of Kindergarten just to frighten her teacher. I should have known it would come back to bite me in the butt. For this year's photo, D3 wanted something extra special. Something to really make her stand out from her sisters so she shaved part of her head. Right at the hairline. Dead center. Oh, she stood out alright. As it grows in, we call her the Unicorn because it stands straight up. Yep. My fault.
Daughter 2: 13yrs - The fun years. The time of your life that taunts you in school pictures forever due to bad posture, braces and drunk photographic assistants. Poor D2's photo came back this year with her body nearly facing the wall and throwing her head back over her shoulder like an owl to stare at the camera. The lights glint off her braces creating a rainbow effect in the glare. No amount of therapy is going to help this one, we'll just tuck it behind the others until she's ready to face it in her 40s.
Daughter 1: 15yrs - So close to being a woman that she's busting out of her blouse. I swear she didn't have boobs when she left the house, how the heck did she grow to a D-cup between the bus and the photo studio thrown up in the library? Perhaps it's the tell-tale tip of tissue poking up out of the neckline (which was a lot higher when she left that day too). Classic.
One day these will join my school photos of bad home perms, regrettable pink gummy lipstick and their father's crossed eyes. I'm hiding the tattoos next year though, Daughter 5 is already too chummy with the Hello Kitties.
* photos not released upon threats of dismemberment by my daughters. And I believe them. After those photos, anything they say is possible.
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