Jari had school pictures today. As I got him bathed, his clothes all ironed, and his hair combed to perfection and then sprayed so it would stay that way, I remebered back to all the years when I was a kid and school picture day was announced. It was always a day met with anticipation, and kids dressed in their best and looked perfect angels which was not typical of them at all. Jari, in reality, should have been sent to get pictures with his hair all cock-eyed from sleep, his favorite crumpled t-shirt hanging from his body and jeans with a hole in one knee. That would be the true picture of my little boy. Not wearing a starched dress shirt tucked into his pants with a belt to hold the entire ensemble together. Not with perfectly combed hair and that fresh from the bath smell of newly washed little boys. Portrait pictures are something of a special variety. They strive to bring out the best in us, but never quite reach the standard. They can't capture the true us as we are, unless our cheeky grin happens to get in the way of the perfect shot. They don't emphasize our personality as we put our best foot forward to look completely put together. But still, they are the picture variety that we send to all our relatives in Christmas cards, the adorable perfection they pull from their wallet to share with all their friends. I wonder if they are ever disappointed at the 10th annual family reunion, to see the "real" portrait live and lively, after years of seeing nothing but the school picture perception?
School pictures are just something you have to do. It gives you one day a year to bring out the best of your little devils, turn them into the Beaver as you reach the June Cleaver goal of the 1950's view of perfection. You will look handsome today, my darling little devil. You will prove to all what a brilliantly beautiful child I have brought onto this earth. And when said child comes home and strips of their perfection and once again becomes your devil child, the real little devil you have come to treasure and love, you know with clarity that 20 years from now that school portrait will bring back memories of that one day you reached some perceived perfection. If, when you get them back, with no retakes, their eyes aren't closed, their smile a grimmace, or one patch of hair accidently poking straight up into the air, that for just one day you achieved June Cleaver status, and your little devil was somehow transformed into an angel for just long enough for you to dream. School pictures...perfection today, a laugh for the future.