It’s been awhile since my dad’s family has had our pictures taken. It’s no small feat when you think of the sheer numbers, as well as coordinating it for those siblings who live out of state. My other mother, Auntie M., decided it was time to tackle it, so we have a date later this month for family photos. I think we can all plan for some organized chaos, but it’s so much fun to see everyone at once that it really is almost a family reunion.
Not only do we need to find a convenient time for forty people to be in one place at one time, but also their spouses. Now of course, some of them are spouse-less at the moment, and there are a few, like Vicki and me, that have the same spouse. We also need a photographer who understands our alternative life-style. Fortunately, we happen to know several, that adopt the same life-style so it doesn’t freak them out.
We usually meet at an outside location where we know there will be plenty of space. We’ll try to do a few group settings, first with just the parents, then some of each mom and her children with Dad, some with just the boys, some with just the girls. Next, of course, we’ll snap a bunch with the whole family without their spouses, and then we’ll invite the spouses in. We’ll cross our fingers and hope that out of all of those shots there will be a few where ALL of us are looking at the camera, have our hands down at our sides and have relatively pleasant looks on our faces. If not, well, there’s always Photo-shop. Just think how it used to be, before the digital age.
As a side story to this: Years ago when I was newly married to D__ and Joe had recently married Vicki and Alina, we all got the call to come for family pictures. D__’s whole family couldn’t make it so we showed up, D__ and me, with one other wife and my young son, Sam. Vicki brought Joe, Alina and their first two baby boys, Joseph and Caleb. They were shooting the usual formations and when they called for the spouses to come in, D__ walked up next to me, and I saw Joe slide in next to Vicki. Alina was on the sidelines and Joe called to her, “Alina, get in here.” She said to him, “I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be in this one.” He looked at her and said, “You are part of this! Of course you belong.”
I have never forgotten that. It impressed me then and it still does to this day. He had two relationships but the marriage included everyone involved. It wasn’t spliced up into parts and pieces.