Family photos.

We all want them, of course.  To document, to remember, to recall the great times, the special times.   Smiling faces, pretty places.

As I looked once again at our Christmas cards,  I felt a touch of envy for those who were able to gather their families together and take group pictures, each one special and meaningful.

There was a Christmas, many years ago, when we decided we’d do a family photo, professionally staged and documented.

The children were at a particularly fetching age….all three of them somewhere between 12 and 15 years of age, malleable,  smileable, cute….in other words, photographable.

Photographer arrived around ten am.  The boys looked adorable in their blue blazers, button-down shirts, striped ties, khaki pants and top-siders.

The family gathered ‘round the roaring fire.  We thought we looked quite grand.

But not a single child had on a single sock.

Photographer wanted socks.

So did parents.

Fights ensued.  It got ugly.

We dismissed photographer and suggested he come back in two hours and all would be well.

During that two hour period, Bloody Mary’s were poured.  Generously.  Never mind that three of the five being served were seriously underage.

Remember.  This was all about the photograph, the document, the occasion.   Any port, or in this case, vodka, in the storm.

Photographer returned.  Still no socks.  Entire family in various stages of disarray.  Happy, yes, but definitely not photographable.

Pictures were taken but never purchased.

That was decades ago.

The last family photo was on the beach, just a few years back. It was a beautiful night. Everyone wore what they wanted to wear.  We walked, barefoot on the beach, holding hands.  No one needed to tell us to smile.  We couldn’t help but smile.

Who wouldn’t be happy?  Walking the beach at sunset, with the ones we loved best, a breeze blowing, a little wine in a few, if not all, tummies.

Sure, we failed Documentation 101 but we finally got one great family picture.

I hope that 2017 will be everything you wish it to be.