I have come across almost every allergy within the local parenting community, but my husband has presented me with an entirely new one. He is allergic to packaged photograph sets.
I get it – the staging, the backdrop with swaths of blue and grey, the plastic roses or durable props, and the toothless smiles. It is such an unnatural part of the spectrum of photography…but that incredibly cheesy aesthetic is what give it its charm. I love digging through my storage and finding my school pictures.
What cracks me up is that at the time, a good – that is Mom picked out my clothes, my hair was actually brushed, and I wasn’t sporting anything excessive like fang teeth or skyscraping bangs – photo seemed so rare that a rather large package would be purchased. Everyone was going to get one: aunties I’d seen twice in my life, customers at my mom’s work, the mailman. And we still had enough left over for me to hoard them in unusual places – my jewelry box, my underwear drawer, my closet. I still find pictures of my younger self amidst my skivvies.
So I am a little wistful that my husband shows no interest and actually a complete aversion to taking our kids in to JC Penny or Sears to get the memory portrait. He started boycotting his own family portraits before the kids were born. He’d also grown a beard and let his hair grow long naturally; I think he wanted to leave the years behind where family asked him to trim up or wear a particular outfit so he could fit in with the rest of the family. Physically, his appearance does set him apart from his immediate family.
He never really picks up the camera so I expect part of it is a lack of interest in documenting the years. I think philosophically he doesn’t feel the need to have a camera around all the time either. But then where does that leave our family photo collection? With a whole lot of pictures of him and the kids taken by yours truly and very few of me. Maybe I will sneak the kids out next weekend. Dress them in a truly Punky Brewster styled outfit. Spike their hair. Buy some Mom jeans and make an exaggeration of the experience. And when I get my little package set I can slip a 2×3 in my husband’s wallet. Something tells me he wouldn’t and couldn’t remove that picture.