“Smile like you’re getting along.” An ode to the family photo..

‘Tis the season when mailboxes overflow with family photo Christmas (or New Year’s) cards. The ones featuring family vacations, weddings, new babies or grand babies, puppies, boats, cars, beaches, you name it. I love getting these cards and marvel at the fact that friends and family keep me on their lists considering I haven’t sent out a family Christmas card in several years.

My reason for not participating in the annual photo card exchange really boils down to  the fact that I never seem to have an adequate family photo on hand. Now that our kids are older and don’t live at home and our vacations tend to be random combinations of family members (my husband and I, or me and my daughter or my husband and my son, instead of the four of us together).. the opportunity for snapping a card worthy photo never seems to present itself.

So this year, determined to send out a New Years Card (even if it may be virtual), I notified my husband and kids that we would be  taking a picture during a three day mini vacation to Nashville.

I’d like to point out that nothing is ever as simple as it sounds.. And so the quest began.. The journey started out at the crack of noon. I figured we’d make it to Nashville by 6pm barring any unexpected delays. But when does that ever happen?

Several hours into the trip, traffic suddenly slowed to a grinding halt. Was it construction? An accident? Who knew? After what seemed like an eternity, cars started to move again and for the last two hours we alternated between barely moving to 40 mph stretches and eventually arrived in Nashville two hours late, some of us a tad bit irritable..

We checked into our hotel and immediately went in search of food. I should mention that agreeing on a place to eat is not something my family excels at (this in itself could be the topic of a lengthy blog). And so, my daughter, Mother in Law and I ate in the hotel bar/restaurant which featured more eclectic cuisine, while my husband and son (who just wanted regular food) walked to the “Five Guys Burgers” a few blocks away. And thus, everyone was fed.

The following day, we had a bit more more success choosing a restaurant thanks to the polite shuttle driver (all the “yes Ma’am’s really are a nice southern touch) who suggested some authentic BBQ joint. Afterward we visited the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum and walked along Broadway stopping for coffee and dessert at The Merchant, an iconic Nashville cafe.

Getting back to the family photo theme.. before heading out to dinner that evening (a compromise was reached when we found a Mexican restaurant nearby) I suggested that we take a quick family picture in front of the Christmas tree in the hotel lobby. A few eye rolls later, we lined up in front of the tree and a nice valet (everyone seems so polite in the South) offered to snap the photo.. and Voila.. mission accomplished.


The end result appears to be a happy family spontaneously stopping for a quick photo. In reality, anyone who’s ever taken a family photo knows that at least one person would rather not be in the picture and that someone always hates the way they look and demands that the photo be deleted.

In fact, it’s kind of a miracle that anyone ends up with a decent family photo. But with some luck and patience, that moment in time when everyone smiles in unison collides with the camera’s shutter and you’ve got your shot.

And then, normal life resumes and everyone can go eat!

I dedicate this post to friends and family who take the time and make the effort to plan, design, address and mail family Christmas cards every year. I truly do love getting them. And for those of you, like me, who never seem to get around to it, I get it!

Happy New Year and Peace on Earth (or at least when attempting a family photo!)


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