Wrinkles and All

I just can’t get enough of this picture. Seriously. The other night I stayed up until midnight just laughing at it.

It doesn’t even need a backstory.

But I’m giving you one anyway.

Thanksgiving. We had driven from Georgia to Florida the previous night and, aside from hitting an opossum (Micah), fending off a mild panic attack brought on from driving down dark, country roads that look like something out of The Walking Dead (Tommi) and an hour-long inconsolable cry-fest (baby Micah), the drive was uneventful and we were excited to spend the holiday with family. Conveniently, two of these family members are fantastic photographers at Second Street Photography who offered us an impromptu mini-session. I had already fallen in love with their work when they gave us a lifestyle shoot this past Fall and knew whatever they captured would be priceless.

Only problem was- we didn’t have any new, clean, coordinated clothes.  And the self-conscious/paranoid/prideful side of me really likes to present a clean & coordinated family so that others can say, ‘Oh ok, they have a lot of kids but looks like they’re doing ok.  See, they’re all smiling and matching. And there’s no dirt under their fingernails.  So I guess we’ll hold off on calling Family Services.” A picture like this:kirkpatrickpreview(1of9)  Unfortunately for my pride, Thanksgiving morning did not hold that sort of promise. No one had showered (or slept much for that matter) and I found myself rummaging through our duffle bags wondering what in the world we could wear for a family picture that would convey a put-together, happy, thriving family.  We need a theme!  Family pictures these day have a theme! Plaid. Stripes. Urban. Rural. Props. We’ve all seen these kinds of pictures.  And when my self-confidence and contentment is in tact, I really enjoy them (when it’s not in tact, envy, regret & comparison seep into my thoughts.) You might recall me recent post regarding a mini-session epic photo bomb!

Unfortunately, the only theme I could come up with was “Wrinkled But Happy.”  And shortly after we began taking pictures, the Happy disappeared and we were just Wrinkled.  And real.kirkpatricks2017(24of72)And I’m reeeeeaaaaallllly glad it was captured on film.

It captures so much of our personalities. How our firstborn Silas hugs and promotes togetherness and finds the beauty in circumstances. How Caramia checks out in a way that even her face and limbs seem to have quit being present. How Judah and Sam are so tight that you can’t tell if they’re fighting each other or loving each other.  How Micah shields us and remains calm.  How baby Micah just wants his freedom, dang it.  And how I try to juggle it all with a literal and figurative expression of “How is this my real life???”

Judging by the social media response to this picture, I’m gathering I’m not alone.  Far from it. I received hundreds of thank you’s for sharing a realistic depiction of life. A life that is adventurous, unscripted, wrinkly and diverse.  Sometimes it’s a walk in the park.kirkpatricks2017(18of72)And then other times- usually without warning- you’re on your face.kirkpatricks2017(19of72) I pray that, as we approach 2018, we find more joy in ‘going into the not knowing’, as my wise mentor calls it. Whether you are walking into the not knowing willingly and happily…

kirkpatricks2017(7of72)…or being carried there by a Good Father.kirkpatricks2017(41of72)I pray that we are able to release more of our grip on what life should look like and enjoy what it actually does look like. Wrinkles and all.kirkpatricks2017(6of72)

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