The Winner of Best Hair and Best Dressed Goes to...

When we first moved into this house, Sam and I went to Kirklands and bought about a dozen matching picture frames of varying sizes with which to adorn the walls in our bowling alley of a hallway by the kids' rooms. Maybe a year after we had Abby I took the time to actually put pictures in those frames and probably another year later we hung them up on the walls. For seven years, baby Abby and little Ben have been frozen in time on the walls of our home. About a year or two ago, we got some more frames, filled, and hung them alongside the originals so that Sarah and Leah would have some representation. I suppose in another year we'll have to do the same thing again so that visitors will know that Noah and Shep 6 are actually members of this family.

I paused in the hallway the other day to look at those eight year old photos, at a time when we had just two children. I commented to Sam that I barely remember what it was like to have Ben and Abby alone. His reply? "They always looked good."

And he was right. They didn't go anywhere without matching outfits, brushed and styled hair, and new shoes. Even their "play clothes" were unblemished - with nary a stain or hole or mysteriously faded spot. They wore bibs at every meal. Their diaper bags were always stocked for any emergency that might arise with spare clothes that matched each other and actually fit.

With five kids, I'm usually brushing hair and putting shoes on (hopefully two of them, but not always) after we arrive at our destination.  The best hair style I can pull off is a ponytail.  Matching bows?  Maybe on Sunday morning.  Otherwise, forget it.  Their clothes are often well-worn and holey.  Most of the outfits I see Abby wearing in those old pictures on the walls have now clothed two little sisters.  Ben is growing at such a rapid rate that I'm going to start looking in Sam's closet for hand-me-downs because that sounds way easier than actually shopping. 

We aren't picture perfect anymore. 

But you know what? 

It's okay.

It's more than okay.  It's real life.  Let me tell you how much Ben and Abby cared about winning the titles of Best Hair and Best Dressed. 

They didn't.

We did that for us. 

Am I scoffing at well-dressed kids?  Absolutely not.  In fact, I would definitely prefer that we not show up most places looking like feral cats.  But as I mentioned in my last post, I have learned to relax a little.  The earth won't come to a screeching halt if I let the girls pick out their own outfits.  It's going to be alright if Ben roams the neighborhood looking like an 80 year old man in two different patterns.  (Hey, my grandfather got away with it.)  And poor Noah.  He's just lucky if he has pants on when we get out in public. 

This might not work for everyone - this whole "relax" technique.  But I do think there's an important lesson here. 

It's okay to reevaluate what's important from time to time.  I assure you my kids won't remember if they matched each other and what their hair looked like (well, maybe Abby will, but that's why she's learning to do it herself).  I can also assure you that whether their hair is crazy and their clothes are mismatched, what matters is that they remember their childhood fondly.  That they know they are loved.  That they live life to the fullest.  They get messy.  They have fun. 

I contend that they do..



Debbie said...

Three things:

1. I have neglected to send you a note congratulating you and Sam on the WONDERFUL news. I felt when Noah was born that he would not be the baby of the family. Obviously, I'm a prophet. Way to go, Sheps. I'm so truly pleased for you!

2. I have a friend who was the mother of six, five of whom were girls. I can't think of that family growing up (They are all grown now) without thinking of headbands. That was their go-to look, little bobs and headbands that they could put on themselves. That was as much as the mom could get together, and it was adorable. I wonder if they still sell headbands. If not, you need to resurrect them.

3, And even if you don't, who cares? Just adorn them in smiles, and they are good to go.

Would love to see your herd sometime. Maybe around Easter?

Sharon said...

Picture perfect isn't all it's cracked up to be. Give me a motley crew of authentic people anytime!

Your family is wonderful, just the way they are. Full of fun, and laughter, and love. Who cares what clothes they've got on, or if their hair is coiffed and styled. Bohemian is best!!

Hope you're doing well with the pregnancy.


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