Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Christmas Letter

This year, for the first time ever, I am writing a Christmas letter. Yes, I realize I am either a couple of weeks late or several months ahead. All the same. So many of these letters that people write focus on health concerns, scares and other bad things. They tend to end with something like, "we're looking forward to things being even better next year." I'm putting my own spin on the concept this year, and will instead focus on one aspect of life: The Family Photo Christmas Card:

Dear Family and Friends,

With the birth of our Madelyn, and perhaps more so, with the creation of the world's cutest "announcement photo"
(yes, she was almost three months old and, as my dad liked to point out, everybody already knew she was here), the idea of a family photo Christmas card was something I looked forward to creating. I even had an idea, carefully crafted in my (apparently pea-sized) brain, that would allow me to get everybody in the photo without fighting Corey to smile, damnit! or stress out about the fact that no one is looking in the same direction as the baby: A "stack" of our upturned hands... first Tom's, then mine, then Corey's... each hand at a different angle, so most of our fingers would show. On top would rest Madelyn's chubby little starfish of a hand. I even had the perfect sentiment to accompany such a photo.
We had a pretty awesome camera and a fairly puny budget, so DIY was definitely the way to go. After several missed opportunities, I decided to force the issue. This method has always worked well for me in the past, right?
Yeah, no. But time was running out for us to get the photo cards made and mailed. So Corey and I worked together to choose the room with the best lighting (of course it had to be the world's smallest kitchen) and then to figure out the camera settings. We put a red blanket on the floor for our background and took a few practice shots.Then we added Tom to the mix. You can see Mad's nearby, ready for her close-up.Madelyn was a little tired that evening, but she was doing alright.Once we were all set up and ready to go, the next step (and perhaps, the most crucial, yet least well thought out) was to deal with logistics. How do you get a kind of tired, sort of hungry eight month old little girl with a mind of her own to stretch out her hand and leave it there long enough for the shutter to click? We tried everything.That's not it.Mad tried to help, too. (Yes, Corey's hand is bleeding because in the fracas he re-opened a wound from earlier in the day.)At times, we got close to the elusive shot.

Eventually it became clear that the shoot was over.

This really was the last night that we could get it done, so I sadly put down the camera (okay, I was sort of giggling about that last shot) and walked away. Maybe next year I'll be able to make it work. I mean, really, how hard could it be? Mad'll be 20 months old by then. She'll cooperate, right?
Quit laughing, would ya?
Anyway, about a week later, I was looking through what we'd done and chuckling to myself about how it had gone. There was a small feeling of regret that we weren't able to make this happen. And then I saw it...

May the spirit of the season bring your family together.


Lady with a View said...

Shan...that is beautiful and inspired and timeless. Will you be hanging this in your new house? I would! Scratch that...don't even wait for the new house.

Barry said...

Brilliant. What a great story, what a great idea and what a great series of photos!

Emms said...

This is so precious and beautiful, i love it!

JT said...

Yeah, it brought tears to my eyes.

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