Getting over myself for Christmas family pics

merry christmas

{This was our “official” family Christmas pic this year}

Confession: I wasn’t particularly eager to post a lot of these pictures. They’re chock full of memorable moments, and my family looks precious.

But.

I don’t think I look so great in them.

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{This was our “yay for Christmas!” moment; also Shaun has fuzz in his hair, and I thought about editing it out but decided it was more fun to leave it; you’re welcome, baby}

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We took these on Christmas day out on my parents’ pond pier, with the last few scraps of light for the afternoon. I had planned our outfits ahead of time, but Shaun and I took a nap (Christmas nap = a Christmas miracle, courtesy of my mama’s not getting a nap herself because we went upstairs, and she stayed downstairs and dealt with our  supposed-to-be-napping-but-not-cooperating twins).

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I overslept and woke up just in time to splash water on my puffy face, swipe on some lipstick, throw Della’s hair in a messy top knot, stuff the twins back in their outfits (after they’d been removed to preserve them from mac ‘n cheese + Jello salad stains), smooth out a few of the boys’ cowlicks, and then hustle everybody out to the pier and insist that they look happy and relaxed just because crazy Mama wants memories, darn. it.

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They did their part like the little we-know-these-are-going-to-be-blogged champs they’ve become.

IMG_9603   But from the moment I glanced in the mirror after my nap and again when I saw the pictures, I found myself battling all kinds of critical thoughts like, “Goodness, those crinkles under my eyes sure are pronounced,” and, “Could I have picked a more unflattering pose? I look 20 pounds heavier,” and, “My hair looks like a soufflé that collapsed on one side.”

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Never mind that I also look happy (I was) or that my husband and kids think I’m plenty pretty enough (because, really, who else matters?).

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Don’t get me wrong: I’m under no delusions that I’m any great beauty, although I’m usually content with how I look. I’m a realist, aware of both my strengths and my flaws, and I’m pretty accepting of the fact that, at 31, I don’t look 25. Especially when I’ve just woken up from a nap where half of my face was smooshed up against a pillow, and the other half is only 1/4 awake anyway. (I dare you to do that math).

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{If I age with a fraction of my sweet mama’s grace, I’ll be thrilled}

And, while I have no desire to populate your nightmares with images of my bed-headed, cotton-mouthed, makeup-less self first thing in the morning (I save that kind of prettiness for my husband), neither do I want to give you the impression that I walk around in full makeup, every hair in place (yeah right, that never happens), cutely dressed, 24/7. It’s more like 6/3 (the rest is pajamas and workout clothes).

Which is why I’m happy to post shots like this one to Facebook:

honey face

(that’s me with a raw honey mask on, which I highly recommend both for soft skin and for freaking out your offspring).

I firmly believe that true beauty comes from within, no matter how hokey it sounds. I’ve seen gorgeous features twisted into a sneer of such epic ugliness that there is no beauty left. And I’ve seen seemingly plain looks transformed by a smile of genuine joy into something transcendently lovely.

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{Remember my dread of this little fairy sprite’s giving herself a home haircut? Well, she surprised me and cut off a little sprig right in the middle of her forehead…with craft scissors…at the gym}

And yet I still struggle occasionally with my oh-so-human desire to only appear put-together and cute for you guys.

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Ugh. I’m not a fan of that part of me. It’s definitely has nothing to do with keeping Christmas in my heart.

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{I like this one}

So, this is me getting over myself and acknowledging that, while I may not love what I see all the time, it’s good enough. And the chances that you were paying the least bit of attention to me—at least before I wrote all of this—when my happy children were so busy being their charming, beautiful, completely unselfconscious selves is pretty much miniscule.

And that’s the way it should be.

P.S. Please know I’m not fishing for compliments with this post. Even just a week removed from not “feeling pretty,” I can look at these pictures and actively like many of them instead of only seeing the flaws. I’m so grateful that God gave me the grace to not let my vanity get in the way of creating memories with my family and sharing them with you. I just wanted you to know that, if this is something you ever struggle with…me too. I’d love it if we could get better about getting over ourselves together!

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15 thoughts on “Getting over myself for Christmas family pics

  1. I haven’t been over here in a while. I pop over to visit and discover…..THE TWINS HAVE HAIR!!!!!!!!! How long has it been!? Seriously a beautiful family:)

  2. Hmmm. And here I was envying your beauty… Are you saying I have bad taste??? : ) But yes, this is a HUGE (haha, can you guess that my weight bothers me?) struggle for me too. What annoys me most is that when I look back on “bad” pictures years later, I consistently realize that I looked fine. How dumb to always be trapped in not-good-enough land, only to realize later (while feeling not good enough now) that I WAS “good enough” then…but still don’t feel so now. Ugh. : )
    Did any of that make sense?

  3. Thank you for this post! I’m not sure if it helps, but your “insecurity” helped to provide me a little bit of “security”. Whenever I read your blog posts, I tend to have a teeny bit of envy pop up because you seem to have it all together. By being so open and honest, you’ve helped to remind me that we all are a little shaky inside at times. Thank you for being so willing to put yourself out there. You have been such a blessing to the Christian mommy blogging community :)
    Emily

  4. I think every mom goes through this! I know exactly what it is like! I often have to to do the same: getting over myself! Thanks for the post!

  5. As a fellow twin mama, I can hopefully encourage you with two thoughts: 1. There is NO flattering way to hold two babies at once. Just getting both off the ground is a feat in and of itself. 2. Double twinny sweetness takes most of the attention away from mama anyway. Most viewers just look at the kids!

    The photos are beautiful and the “real life” story that goes behind them makes them even better!

    1. SO true! Holding twins automatically doubles YOUR width. : ) As soon as mine were too big to be stacked in my arms this became very obvious to me. …But, so what!?! Everyone still envies me. : )

  6. well at this stage the twins look like mini Shauns. Happy family extremely good looking members. Your pix with the boys and with the girls separately were also quite good. If Shaun ever looks anything but happy you should snap it quick. His happiness shines through so nicely. Happy healthy and prosperous 2014

  7. Abby. Hon. You are beautiful… Inside and out. You go take a good look at your beautiful kids and come back and tell me… Better.. tell yourself that any one of them… That little Della. The spit of your mouth… Sweetie, she’s traffic stopping.

    So you go look at her… And tell her she’s not amazing. Because she looks just. Like. You.

    And by the way… That black and white of you laughing and her snuggled into your neck?

    That moment of real life? A glimpse into the relationship between you. The love..nurture. comfort. Her knowledge that she’s wanted and loved and cherished and desired in your arms? She’ll need that moment one day. She’ll need that knowledge that life was that simple one day.

    Make sure she has it.

    That one needs to be BIG and go up on the mantle.

    And the one of you and the boys?

    Also… Big. It’s a great picture!

  8. I know this wasn’t the point of our post, but I need to commiserate with another point. My 3-year-old also cut her hair right there in the front with craft scissors. She’s my 5th child and the 1st to even give herself a haircut. It surely does not make for good photos. She’s got a weird sort-of bang thing going on! :-/

  9. I completely undertansrand how you feel. My hubby took a picture of me on NYE and it made me cry. I’m so thick. I can’t stand to have my picture taken. Its hard too to get over it.

  10. As I near the end of my weekly maternity series, I struggle with a lot of the photos too. I felt so cute during the second trimester! ;) I am LOVING documenting this pregnancy, but the end is just . . . well, I’m about 30 pounds heavier, retaining water like a dry sponge, and I feel huge with 8-9 weeks left to go. At the same time I have major regrets over not taking more photos when I was pregnant with our first, puffy face or not.

    And good heavens, I love your twins’ dresses!

  11. Thank you for this. I loved it. I’m learning, I’m learning….real is better than perfect. And there is no perfect, anyway!

  12. You have such a gorgeous family!
    I love the pictures and think you all look great!

    I especially loved the family pic you posted on fb last week.

    Thanks for sharing your struggles with everyone. It’s nice reading the more real thoughts of bloggers. <3

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