Just make them do it.

Well, you made it. You survived the holidays of 2015.

Sure, it’s “the most wonderful time of the year,” but sometimes the holidays feel like a lot of rushing around, planning parties, and, of course, seeing lots of family.  This past holiday season I started a new tradition. It’s pretty simple actually… but something we either never got around to doing, or something everyone refused to do. We took a huge family group picture, and I made everyone do it. Sure, it’s not an earth-shattering tradition, but to me it’s important now more than ever.

You see, our big family gathering last Easter was the last day most of us saw my sister Katie alive. She died the very next day. I did take a group picture of everyone sitting around, but it was candid. All I got was the back of her head that day. Another family member passed away almost two years ago. I tried looking back at pictures of our previous gatherings to see if I could find him in pictures. Nothing.  I used to always be the unofficial photographer at family events, but somewhere between having kids and managing them in the chaos of a get-together, I stopped taking pictures. {Well, maybe one or two, but definitely not family group shots or any frame worthy photos.}

So when I had the opportunity to have everyone together again, I went for it. We were going to take a family group picture.

I put out chairs for those who needed to sit and “encouraged” everyone to head out to the yard and stand together. Sure, I got a few eye rolls, but eventually everyone got in place. Then I started snapping pictures. I got a few shots before people were exactly in place. It’s just perfect. You can just see the personalities in everyone. My cousin is annoyed, Grandma is laughing big at something, Grandpa is waiting patiently, and, of course, one of my kids is refusing to smile at all.

family collage 2

Then at Christmas in another group photo, we are all wearing socks because you can’t wear shoes in my cousin’s house. {My socks aren’t matching. Note to self for future events.} My grandpa is trying to grab my cousin’s kid who is running off.  We aren’t in coordinating colors, and we aren’t all in the perfect places.

Ah, the memories. We are family. These are my people. Loud, loving, bickering, hugging, connected for life… family.

So, I decided no matter how much people complain or how complicated it is for a few minutes, we will always take a group picture when we are all together for a huge family event. Easter, July 4th, birthdays, holidays…. if we are all together there will be a big family picture.

You never know what tomorrow holds, or when it might be the last time you have to take that picture with the people you love. Now with our “new” tradition, we will always have a little snapshot in time to look back on.


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