If you are a parent, chances are you know the real story behind all those adorable pictures of smiling kids plastered on the annual holiday cards.
It’s the nitty-gritty, down and dirty true story that involves wardrobe malfunctions, hair debacles and all out meltdowns at the photo studio.
It’s the fight with your kids about what color shirt they are going to wear or how they will refuse to let you curl, straighten or fix the rat nest on top of their head the morning of pictures.
It’s the one where the moms are sweating bullets as they wait for their turn in front of the cameras, chasing toddlers, bouncing infants and carefully feeding Cheerios to bored kids, praying that nothing lands on the perfect holiday outfits you searched weeks for.
The pressures, the headaches and the fights are all worth it in the end if the reward is the perfect smiling photo of every child involved. The parents relax, the kids kick off their expensive but uncomfortable shoes, the babies drool soaks through their clothes, but now, nobody cares.
The one moment showing the perfect family, the perfect children was captured, approved and marked as "suitable to show my family."
Yup, I’ve been there. Craving that photo, desperate to show everyone how beautiful and yes- perfect- my kids are.
Sometimes I got the picture, but more often than not, I didn't. It’s those photos, however, that have become my favorites and always make me laugh.
One year in particular, I never really managed to capture that perfect moment, even after a dreadful trip to the studio where my kids spent more time on the floor crying that in front of the camera.
Beaten, embarrassed and wholly depressed, we returned home with nothing to show for it- because there was just no way I was going to pay to let anyone see the mess that just happened in public.
Determined to get the perfect shot though, we set up the makeshift home studio and tried again. With basically the same results, but this time I kept the photos (since I didn’t have to buy them) and actually sent one as my Christmas card that year.
It was a hit. My screaming, crying, uncooperative kids were a hit and all I could do was shake my head as I had people calling me out of the blue or finding me at holiday parties, just to tell me how much they loved my card.
That picture, that moment, has become one of my favorite Christmas memories because it taught me so much. It also reminds me that I don't have to be perfect and neither do my kids. People will still appreciate them, I will still love them and they will always make me laugh.
Do you have a favorite Christmas card meltdown photo? Share them here and tell us about them in comments.