I woke up this morning, drugged myself up to the eyeballs (safely), and managed to remain vertical for the entire day.
I am, of course, tired now. And it was a cranky, irritating sort of work day which kept me on edge most of the time, but now I’m home and there’s a small sense of accomplishment at having it done.
There was one super bright spot in the day however, and that was digging through all of those work emails that piled up over three days to find the one from the children’s Christmas party organiser with the official Santa photo.
I’ll be honest. We have never done the formal professional family photography session in the four years since Hawkeye was born. It’s not that the idea doesn’t appeal to me, but I’ve just never gotten around to organising it and frankly three quarters of the effort would have to be spent simply on convincing The Mister that he should go along with it.
However, he can’t avoid Santa. Santa is a seriously fundamental part of childhood in many countries, and that is definitely the case in Ireland. People spend the whole month of December asking young children what Santa is going to bring them and then spend all of January asking young children what they got from Santa. It’s overwhelming and inescapable, and you really have to work hard to keep the commercial aspect of Santa under control in your household.
So sometime before our third trip to Santa, I cajoled The Mister into coming and posing in the Santa photo and I realised that this was the easiest way to substitute that professional photo shoot. There are relatively few pictures of all three of us in one shot, but every year now, we can at least point to one photograph where all three of us are smiling (well, two of us at least) and even if we have to share the space with a jolly fat man in a red suit, it’s a high quality family photograph at no cost to me other than a little bit of time and effort.
Hell, I even put on make up and work clothes this year.
I love watching the change in the photos year on year, from the eight-week old lump blinded by the flash, to the fourteen month old photographed with a rictus of a smile in that split second as he’s about to emit an ear-shattering scream. The twenty six month old was less terrified but clung to mama the entire time. The following year he was much more laid back, racing around the place but still refusing to sit on Santa’s lap. Daddy’s lap sufficed. And oh my god, did I really wear the same pair of UnderArmor trousers two years in a row?
This year, he was bashful. Supremely bashful, barely speaking above a whisper. He loved Santa’s visit and raved about it afterward, but his expression during the actual experience was quizzical, like he couldn’t quite make out why he was standing there, clutching a balloon animal under one arm and trying valiantly to not drop his newly received present with the other arm. I love it and I can’t wait to see what photograph we end up with next year.