Sometimes our Xtra Special Days are a long time in coming!
What I mean is they are thought of
and partly planned
but then may take weeks,
months or sometimes years
to actually take place.
Take our FAMILY PHOTO SHOOT for example.
This one was thought of by me many years before this, definitely prior to 2004 when we moved from Northern Ireland to Belgium.
It was then decreed by our kids in 2007 as the gift they were going to give us for our 30th wedding anniversary that August while we were still living in Belgium.
It actually took place in February 2013 after we had returned to live in Northern Ireland.
I guess this shows that we are not a family ruled by the mother anyway!
We were always (well practically always) flexible in when we did things before we went to live in Belgium but then while we were in Belgium Daniel was living in Northern Ireland, later Linda was mostly at university in Norwich and then Jonathan was pastoring in Leeds so it became harder to arrange times for specific things that were to be all-family events and there were certain things that we really wanted to still share together as a family.
The problem is I always say we should do something and then think "Oh when will we ever get it organised" instead of just going ahead and putting them all on the spot and saying "Right we need a date".
Let me go back in time and explain that this was not our first Family Photo Shoot.
Approximately a year after each of our children were born we had a family photo taken, so we have the early years where the family grew in number from 3 of us to 5 of us.
This was also done by a professional photographer although it took place in our home.
There was one of the extended family involving my parents, my sister's family and then this one of our family which meant we had one with the kids in their pre-teen years.
My father died a few months after we returned home to Northern Ireland in 1995 so it definitely was a good time to have taken those pictures and the fact that all the grandchildren had already been born was just another blessing.
Several times in the following years I would say we should have another family picture taken because the kids were older but all through their teen years they were not so keen on the idea.
Finally the spurt of energy was on for this Photo Shoot to be done in Feb 2013 as our daughter Linda was heading off to South Korea at the end of the month and for that moment at least there were 4 out of the 5 of us living in the same country and within 40 min drive of each other.
Okay, so a plane journey was still involved for Jonathan but when we were trying to do this a couple of years ago in Belgium it could have meant 3 plane journeys from 3 different places to get us all together. And of course Jonathan wanted to come visit and see Linda before she set off anyway.
Then the question was "What to wear?"
- Do we take an change of outfit so that we have a formal and casual one?
- Will we clash if we don't talk this over first?
- Is there anything we should avoid wearing?
Well we really did talk it over but .....
1. Linda and I still ended up in colours which looked very similar in the pics yet no-one thought they were that close in reality, and we were living in the same house at the time.
2. The boys ended up in almost matching casual shirts (my dressing them to match when they were very young could not possibly have had any influence on this as they have always told me how they didn't like it).
3. The more formal outfits presented us very much as a black, white, grey type of family!!
The photographer was very nice and easy to talk to.
Some of us have no problem in front of a camera but the rest of us just do not relax too well in that kind of situation - eyes close at the wrong times, we speak or giggle at the wrong times, etc.
Well when it actually happened I really enjoyed the Photo Shoot - as much as a person who hates getting her picture taken can possible enjoy it. But of course what I really enjoyed was the family being together, laughing and joking and knowing that we were actually doing what we had always planned for.
Anyway one hour later and we are all done and hoping that we can manage to have a few decent pics to choose from out of the dozens he took.
We did some more formal wear pics like the one above and then some casual wear and you can see our almost matching shirts and colours.
Unfortunately Linda was off to Korea before we had a chance to go back and view the pictures but that was ok as we were all able to view them online and make our lists of our favourites.
Now that was the next problem such a long drawn out procedure as it turned out that we had very different opinions as to what we each liked or didn't like.
In the end (months later) I just had to make the final decision on what to get and Fred & I were pleased with that even if the kids had a few comments. I never claimed we were the perfect family just a loving family.
Of course when I think of that day I know that it wasn't just the photo taking time that I enjoyed but also the coffee time afterwards when we found a little coffee shop in Hillsborough, County Down, Northern Ireland. It was nice to sit and chat about the different poses and how we thought it all went and relax together before heading back to our house in Banbridge.
Not only did we get good coffee but we also discovered they make great cheesecake as well.
I'm thankful that we were able to have this opportunity to have another family photo together because with Linda in South Korea & Jonathan in Leeds
we have only been together again twice.
If you are trying to think of a nice way to celebrate a specific time in the life of your family why not go for a Photo Shoot.
And don't forget the coffee time together afterwards.