Life is …. real | Lynden Family Portraits

“Oh, I know we might not get any shots of all the kids smiling at the camera,” she said while she sewed buttons on a coat, wiped breakfast’s oatmeal off a face, vetoed one outfit, approved a different shirt, refereed an almost-argument, whipped a brush through some curls, and shooed the cat off the table.  “But that’s okay.  This is life.”

Life is the smeared oatmeal,the wayward cat, the mismatched outfits, the quickly brushed hair. Life is bear hugs and smooshed kisses and giggle fests. Life is the thumb sucker, the giggle-like-crazy-er, the thinker, the be-silly-all-the-time-er. . . and their concurrently conflicting dilemma: to monopolize the attention of the camera or to avoid its aim like the plague.  Life is refusing to smile at the camera itself, but laughing hysterically at every back-of-the-camera-preview.  Life is the freshly sewn buttons, mom-approved shoes, and that favorite superhero mask.  It’s picture perfect.  All of it.

Life is the hugs. The shrugs. The sly smirk. The solemn stare.

Life is playing patty-cake with the camera. It’s making monkey faces whenever possible. It’s smiling when no one else is.

Life is giving instruction to the photographer and practicing standing-like-a-soldier in the middle of the living room.

Life is eight sparkling eyes and four excited bobbing heads.

Life is group hugs and family lovin’. It’s giggling and squirming and squishing-the-little-brother-in-a-great-big-bear-hug.

Life is all of the expressions…not just the smiles. It’s the smirks and groans and funky faces and bored stares.  It’s the normal between the perfect. Because normal IS perfect.  Because real is ALWAYS better than fake. Always..

Please note:  there’s more than one photo with all faces smiling at the camera.
And that’s normal and perfect and real,  too. All at once.

Deliberate. Solemn. Phlegmatic. He stared into the camera without a trace of a smile. Almost bored, he patiently waited. Waited to see the back-of-the-camera preview. Waited to see his stoicism staring back at himself. Then – and only then – he smiled. Giggled, actually. Squealed with delight. Rolled his head back, held his stomach, and laughed. Hard. The laugh didn’t last long, though. When he could no longer see his image staring back at him, the smile was gone. The deliberate . . . could it be? apathy? . . . lasted only as long as the camera pointed his direction. When tired of staring, he reached up to grab the lens and bring the preview back into view. Then he’d smile. Really smile.

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