One of the running jokes in this household is the fact that Charlie's preschool pictures are pretty awful. Like not that she looks terrible in them or anything, but that they are not cute little reflections of her preschool years that you see in magazines but rather reflections of the darker side of her personality.
It's really funny because she is generally a pretty cute child. Except, of course, when she is shrieking like a banshee because I won't let her wear her plastic princess dress up shoes outside in a foot of snow. During those times her head rotates 360*, Beelzebub does a voice dub for her, and she shoots you some angry eyes that the most hardened of prison inmates would find intimidating. That blonde haired blue eyed innocent look she's going for is deceiving...don't let yourself forget that she was definitely born a red head (and I have the pictures to prove it!) But other than that, she is a pretty angelic looking little baby.
There is something about getting in front of the camera at school that somehow brings out the clinically depressed or homicidal maniac in her. I know this because I have pictures of pictures of her looking like this. I generally don't buy school pictures because I'm trying desperately to check off ALL items on the lousy parent checklist (yes, I'm an overachiever) but I have been really tempted to get some of these just cause they are so fucking hilarious. Hence, the pictures of pictures. Mama's gotta budget, yo, and I can't keep buying wine and coffee if I have to fork out for school pictures.
The last set that we got takes the cake though. This time, it wasn't because of being depressed or looking like a psychopathic killer. This time, it was because it so completely captured her "I'm gonna do it my way and if you don't like it there's the door" personality. As I am totally parent of the year (NOT! See above...) I kinda forgot until the last minute that it was picture day. Not that I was going to buy them, but I do try to get my kids looking halfway decent for the class picture. I was not about to try to change her outfit up that morning as I generally don't function in the mornings. Hence the picking out of the outfit the night before. She picked out a great yellow t-shirt with big flowers on it, a pink tutu, and a lovely bright magenta headband. Not too awful, right?
Then I saw the picture.
OMG. She popped a hip out, one hand resting on it. The headband she put around her hair, but then did not pull it through so she looked like some kind of Rambo/Hippie child (Char-Rambo, anyone?) Her teacher told me she was adamant that her hair had to be like that. It was amazing and awesome and totally captured her spirit. Plus, she did not look like the poster child for an antidepressant, which was a bonus. It was Charlie to the nth degree.
I will continue to marvel at the way that my children are growing and becoming their own persons. Hell, Elizabeth is going to be 18. Eight. Teen. As in, legally an adult. As in, she gets to vote in the next presidential election. As in, she could go get all kinds of tattoos and piercings if she wanted. As in, legally responsible for her actions. Just...holy fuck. And Alexis...she wants to get up and do a solo for competition. Alexis. The shy little girl who hated everyone as an infant and cried every class for the first month of ballet...doing a solo competitively. It blows my mind.
It still amazes me that they let me take these kids home from the hospital. I mean, those physicians and nurses obviously did not know me on a personal level if they thought that it would be a good idea to let me raise children...or even leave me with them for extended periods of time unsupervised. The fact that my kids are as awesome as they are; that they are growing and healthy and on the path to being productive members of society...that is all them. Their minds, their personalities, their souls...they are all beautiful.
I just hope that I am able to undo what society will try to tell them. That they aren't beautiful enough, skinny enough, smart enough...any kind of enough. I hope they learn as they grow that they DO have what it takes to be whatever they want, to do whatever they want. I hope that they embrace their love of pink tutus and hippie hairstyles; that they grow to love themselves despite other people trying their damnedest to get them to despise themselves for a myriad of reasons.
I hope they keep growing. And that they will look back on these kinds of pictures and laugh as much as I have. Because they are beautiful and humorous and a damn good reflection of their growth and emergence as their own women.