I feel like I just finished a marathon, or at the very least just sprinted up a few flights of stairs to the theme song from “Rocky.” Either way, I am going to chalk this morning’s personal accomplishments up in my win column, right after I collapse in a ball on the floor and come out of my self-induced coma.
It’s Picture Day at school. It’s days like today that I secretly wish for just a brief moment that I would’ve had all boys. The process of preparing for such an event when you have girls is well, it’s completely fucking exhausting, that’s what it is. I got up extra early, drank three days worth of coffee (extra bold), and gave myself a quick pep talk in an effort to prepare myself for the absolute shit show that I knew would immediately follow, regardless of how much we preplanned the night before. “It’ll all be over in a little over an hour Jill. You got this!”
“Rise and shine girls! It’s Picture Day!”
Pulling off Picture Day preparation without a hitch is no easy feat in this family. My two girls couldn’t be more opposite when it comes to their opinion of this annual school event, and it’s absolutely imperative that one realize this and engage them both accordingly.
One couldn’t be less enthused by the idea, “I hate picture day. You have to get all dressed up and practice smiling and it’s dumb.” No one has ever asked her to practice her smile (never ever).
The other one stands in front of the mirror actually practicing her smile, attempting various poses, and simply just admiring the beauty in which God has bestowed upon her. “I’m so pretty Mommy. Which smile do you like better? I like all of them.”
One reluctantly gets dragged out of bed, rolls her eyes at the suggestion of a shower, and goes through her closet like a lost soul trying to find something, anything to wear on this ever important day in history. Ten minutes later, “Does this shirt make my neck look too long Mom?”
The other one carefully displays her bright purple sequence dress that her grandmother bought for her over a year ago (which is now two sizes too small) out on her bedroom floor with one of her sparkly princess tiaras placed strategically at the top. She is so unbelievably excited. How can I say no? I have to say no. I should really say no. I decide to just awkwardly smile and walk away.
The hair is another story.
One is perfectly content going to school with a wet head and offers several eye rolls at the mere suggestion that her mother maybe blow-dry it for the occasion. “Ugh, fine Mom. Whatever.”
The other one has a bullet point list of specific steps I must take before even grabbing the comb. “I want it straight on the top with curls at the bottom and then glitter spray everywhere. Glitter spray everywhere! Okay Mom?! And are you going to order a limousine for me today?”
She wasn’t kidding. She honestly believes that she is a princess. A real one. I am certainly not going to be the one who tells her otherwise either. She is a force, and I pick my battles. “Dear Lord, please help me get her hair right!”
All the while I am thinking, “Can I really let her wear that insanely way too fancy and borderline inappropriate mini-dress to school today, with those furry black boots that are a size and a half too big, with that tiara? She can’t wear that ridiculous tiara, right?”
There she stands, still in front of the mirror, smiling, admiring, beaming, complimenting, “I’m as pretty as a princess!” If only I could bottle her confidence. I would give half of it to her sister and would use the other half to buy her a damn limousine.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and we are seriously running out of time. They still haven’t eaten breakfast or brushed their teeth. I still haven’t packed their lunches (Why the hell didn’t I do that last night?), or finished my 17th cup of coffee, or brushed my own gritty teeth.
“Mom, don’t forget to put the picture packet in my backpack.”
“Son of a bitch! The picture packets (plural)! Where are they?”
Where the hell else would they be but under one of the many piles of never-ending shit on our kitchen counter, and of course they are B L A N K.
“I didn’t fill them out yet! What the hell is wrong with me?!” It’s not like I can just check a box, write out a check, and be done with it either. There are 27 “packages” to choose from, 7 color backgrounds, 5 poses, personalization options, and the god forsaken a la carte menu. I think I’m going to be sick. Eeny meeny miny moe. Whatever, I suck. Here’s a blank check.
“Mom, you haven’t sprayed glitter in my hair yet! Mom! Glitter!!!”
“Hey Mom, doesn’t Buddy have preschool today?”
“OMG! Buddy has preschool today! Buddy, get your shoes on.”
“But Mom, doesn’t he need to brush his teeth or hair or something?”
“He looks fine. Get in the van.”