With my (in)courage post landing on a Tuesday this month, it obviously messed with the Project Tuesday/Gitz Bits schedule. And that proved to be pretty ok with me since I was sick and didn’t take any pictures this past week anyway. :) But I do have this one picture that came in the mail that I wanted to show you all, so I thought I’d do a sorta-kinda-not-quite-Gitz-Bits on a Wednesday.
I’m a total rebel like that.
A few weeks ago, my friend Jessica gave me an early Christmas present. And anyone who knows me knows how totally ok I was with the concept. I drive Susie crazy every year because I buy her birthday present a month early and then ask her constantly if she wants me to give it to her immediately instead of wait.
She’s of the mind that you wait until the day of the celebration to actually open a gift and celebrate. I, on the other hand, about burst from the fun of it all and want instant gratification. She knows never to bring a Christmas gift early and expect me to set it under the tree.
Or, if it ends up under the tree, it certainly wouldn’t still be wrapped. :)
Anyway, when Jess asked if she could send my gift early, I said it was great as long as she didn’t expect me to wait until December to open it. And when she sent me the gift certificate to have a canvas made, I understood why she wanted me to have it early.
She knew I needed my family around me.
This is the amazing and lovely and beautiful 16x24 canvas that is now hanging in my bedroom that I get to see every day.
It was the last time all 22 of us were in the same room together. It was the weekend before Christmas in 2006... the last big holiday I was able to travel home. I was insane with the camera that day, pretty much driving everyone crazy. There was a part of me that knew I wouldn’t have many of these moments left. The problem was that my camera was dying a slow death, and the lag time between pushing the button and the actual picture being taken was ridiculous. So every time one of the kids exchanged presents, I would make them hug and then hold the pose so I could get the shot.
After a few times, it got to be a joke where I would say, “Ok, now hug.” and all the kids would yell, “Annnnnd... HOLD.”
After everyone was done opening gifts and the wrapping paper was thrown away, I set the camera on a tripod and got everyone situated for a big family shot. We literally only had one take... this one moment of our lives was captured before my camera died for good.
And it happened to be perfect.
So this is one of my most treasured pictures. I always looked at it before knowing it was most likely our last family portrait. But I always believed that was because of me. Because I wouldn’t go home again. Because there was no way my whole entire family would all be here in my home at the same time. Because the odds of everyone being available and 100% healthy to gather here was unthinkable.
I thought it was our last shot because of me, but there was still a hope and a chance. Now that Dad is gone, this isn’t simply a treasured photo. It’s a priceless one. And it’s a gift in so many ways that go beyond Christmas.