Togetherness is a funny thing. You can be together so much, for so many hours in a day and yet still not find or make the time to be together. I know that must sound like it doesn't make any sense but I hope I am not alone. The pace of life during term time is like a freight train hurtling down a never ending track. My pledge to try and keep school holidays free from laptops is so much harder in reality than it is to promise and divvying up school pick ups and cross checking diaries on a Sunday night have meant the last month or so has felt like a surreal existence. On survival mode to half term.
We're there on the sports pitch to cheer Sammy on, we are there at parent's evening hearing how he is a credit to us, with a sense of warmth washing over our bodies - a mix of pride and sheer relief that we are doing something right. We piggy back them upstairs, their dangly chicken legs hanging on our hips and drop them into their twin beds, then take turns to read their school books, before we swap and get under the second set of covers.
We are together all the time.
Yesterday was match day and I watched one of the dads playfully wrestling with his son who had been substituted so they all had a turn on the pitch. He works in Hong Kong and had flown back just for 3 days before another long stint abroad until Christmas. And when I went to bed last night I thought about just how hard that must be to have months apart as a family. And how it's so normal for us that Rich and I spend so much time together that we've sort of stopped appreciating the little things they must long for.
Even taking a family photo has become almost impossible. It's become a point of principle, Mama wants a photo for the dreaded Me and Mine! But when we were out with my sister at the weekend (Ok so I know this is a September link up but sssh it's the very best I could do and it will be November otherwise!) we were talking about how her in laws were asking for a family photo of them and how few they actually had bar selfies on their camera roll.
It seems like the easiest thing all getting in together for a photo but sometimes it feels more trouble than it's worth. I've done my fair share of dog treats. Tempting them with sweets or chocolates in my hand! And do you know that's ok. Life isn't all about a perfect picture. It's ok if you have to persuade your brood sometimes, because what you get at the end reminds you that it is worth it really.
People say a picture tells a thousand words but really they never tell the thousand words behind the scenes!
The thing about Me and Mine is that it forces me to capture a moment, whether anyone else wants to or not. And even though there was a hint of eye rolling before my sister took this, as soon as the boys jumped down we looked at the photo and smiled. Because the truth is, there are times in your lives when children have to come first, when work has to come first, when family routine dominates everything, when you might feel less together or up together than you'd like to be.
Trying to make everything perfect is hard and I'm not sure the perfect family exists. I know for a fact from my early photography days that even those magical family portrait sessions have tense moments too.
The house isn't up together, we are not up together. There's overdue dentist appointments to book, bags for the charity shop that haven't made it out of the hallway, half finished DIY projects, library books that should have been returned in July and it's been so long since I had a hair cut my barnet is like a bird's nest every morning.
But, we are all in it together.
I've decided it's so much better to not be in pursuit of perfection. I'll take my lot and all their moaning and groaning because they are mine.
It doesn't matter when you share it, it matters who you share. Come and join in with us and show us you and yours. I love that this group of bloggers share everything from beautifully composed portraits in picturesque locations to last minute selfies. That's what makes this project so heartwarming and honest. I want both of those and everything in between. I love the candid shots that people capture by accident and the happy smiling faces all looking at the camera. And I love my Me and Mine for September. Which is already printed and in a frame. Let's hope the grandparents don't read this because they are getting one for Christmas!