This past weekend my entire family gathered for pictures. My parents, all of my sisters, their husbands, and all of my nieces and nephews, and of course hubs, me, and our dog. To say that I wasn't looking forward to pictures was a bit of an understatement.
There was some drama in the days leading up to pictures. One sister doesn't allow pictures of her child on social media and is a royal pain in the ass about it (I'll refrain from stepping on my soap box about this topic). This wouldn't be problematic, except the photographer utilizes it for advertising purposes and posts "sneak peaks" of all of her sessions to Facebook. To make a long story short, apparently I hurt my sister's feelings when I told her that she needed to verify with the photographer before the date of pictures that pictures of her kid would not be posted online, and that if this was non-negotiable for the photographer that my sister needed to make arrangements for a different photographer. If she doesn't want pictures of her kid online, fine, but that doesn't give her the right to make a last minute decision for a group based on her personal policy, especially since every other person in the group had this weekend blocked off for two months and she didn't bother to mention this potential issue until two weeks before. Thankfully everything was verified and the photographer was understanding about my sister's (stupid) policy.
There was also outfit drama in the days leading up to the pictures. In August we all agreed to a fall color palette for attire and that that each family/couple (because hubs and I aren't considered a family) would let the rest of the group know what color we chose as we decided on our outfits to hopefully avoid duplicates. I sorted out attire for hubs and me a month in advance (which involved buying new shirts for both of us) and ordered a custom bow tie for the dog. Per the arrangement, I let everyone know the color scheme that we chose. Four days before pictures I was informed that we needed to pick a different color because one of my sisters was short on money needed to use that color so she wouldn't have to go buy new outfits for the kids. I not so politely informed the group that lack of planning on her part was not an emergency on mine, that we weren't changing our outfits, and that I didn't care if they wore the same color as us. My sister managed to figure it out.
The actual day of the pictures was stressful. My nieces woke up in rare form, something that I knew would not bode well for pictures, and then my sister "forgot" to put them down for naps. Also, apparently one of my sisters arranged for my cousin to come out to do hair and makeup. Two of the topics of conversation were unfair maternity leave policies and being thankful for tubals. Not surprisingly, I didn't have anything to contribute, so I left.
Pictures were scheduled for 5pm. Now, I'm obviously not a parent, but as soon as I heard the time, I knew it was a bad idea. Scheduling a two hour time block starting at 5pm (right during dinner time) when you have five kids that are five and younger, is asking for trouble. And it was.
Also, one might assume that since we planned to take the pictures on my parent's farm where my parents and two of my sisters and their families live, that everyone would be on time. This assumption was wrong. 5pm came and hubs and I were the only people ready. But at least we got our family shots done first.
The biggest surprise of the day is that my mom had my grandparents (her parents) come out for pictures. I understand this on some level because they are getting older, their health is failing them, and the reality is that there probably won't be too many more opportunities for pictures with them, but after infertility, I don't like surprises. I have what I would consider to be a cordial relationship with my grandparents, but I don't go out of my way to spend time with them, particularly not during election season. All my grandma could manage to talk about was how evil Hillary Clinton is, how awesome that Donald Trump is, and how excited that her and my grandpa are to be first time great-great grandparents. Apparently my cousin's 16 year old daughter had a baby, which, in my mind, isn't something to be excited about.
From the sneak peak that I saw online, it looks like the photographer managed to get some decent shots. I'm not in love with the shot of me, hubs, and the dog but it's definitely good enough for our holiday card, and she got a really good shot of just the dog. There's also a pretty good shot of my parents, my sisters, and me. The group shots of the whole family weren't that great, but by the time we got to that point of the session most of the kids were hungry, tired, and throwing fits.
Probably the most hurtful part of picture day was when I overheard a conversation between my mom and asshole brother-in-law. BIL asked my mom if she ever imagined that she'd have as many grandkids as she does. She replied with "actually, I thought I'd have more by now." I know she didn't mean for it to be hurtful, and she was probably just being honest about her feelings, but it stung and made me feel incredibly inadequate.
I felt different for the whole day. An outsider in my own family. And it was really hard for both hubs and me. But I think I handled it better than I would have a year or two ago, so that alone is a victory of sorts. Thankfully, family pictures aren't a regular occurrence so I'll have a reprieve for a couple of years.