I spent years trying to master the task of taking a good photo of the boys for our annual Christmas card. I remember one year when the boys were ages three and five. I was having difficulty trying to get a good photo of the two boys in their Christmas outfits sitting in front of a beautifully decorated tree. After shooting a whole roll of film (that's 24 pictures in "the old days"), I got one decent picture. I was completely frazzled after that and let the boys play in their good clothes. I crawled to the couch for a break.
Funny thing though, I saved all the "bad" photos. I came across them years later and got a good laugh out of seeing their goofing-off pictures. I was way too concerned about perfection in the earlier years. Probably the reason for most of my frustration! It's not healthy to be an inflexible parent, but with special needs kids, this will lead to your destruction, mentally and physically!
Vowing to change the routine for the next year, we took the boys to see Santa at the mall. We would leave the picture-taking to the "pros". Another bad idea! After waiting in line for a tortuous 45 minutes, the boys were so irritable by the time we saw Santa, it was nearly impossible to get a good photo. I saved the rejected photos again, and still chuckle when I see Sean throwing his shoe past Santa's face and nearly hitting his glasses to the floor. Of course it's only funny in hindsight!
The year after that I decided I was going to be extremely smart. I hired my friend Paul (see Resource Page) to take photos of us at a park at dusk. I figured there'd be few people there, making for a more calm environment. What I didn't count on is watching Sean have a meltdown in the car on the way to the park. Thankfully, Paul got him distracted and you couldn't even tell he had been sobbing for 20 minutes just prior to picture-taking.
Now I see pictures of Cameron's four kiddos, ages one to six, bouncing around the park like ping-pong balls. I had forgotten how much energy they have! Oh, I clap for joy when I see all four of my grandchildren in one picture every now and then. I'm always scouting for a potential photo to use on my Christmas card. But searching for good pictures is a lot easier then taking them. And for that blessing, I am extremely grateful!