a short and incomplete confession of my sins

note: this post is intended neither to draw sympathy or justification, but simply part of my ongoing crusade to display the dark and light; to show that “picture perfect” sometimes isn’t.

Deliciously beautiful little girls, spring dresses, pink parasols, rainboots that just happen to match perfectly and an almost green field– could I resist a quick photoshoot?




But I should have.

Little ones, especially these two almost-siblings who know how to press my buttons, will agree to about 5 minutes of photography time– but, you need to have about two hours leisure to harness those precious minutes. Sneaking in photos between playgroup and preschool and piano lessons? Not so smart.

They bickered, they whined, they traded clothes and boots and parasols, they refused to turn away from the sun and stuck their tongues and scowled. Yet, they were still so heartbreakingly gorgeous that I felt desperate to get the perfect shot. Cars passing by stopped just to admire their loveliness. Usually, I can just wait it out until the moment, that moment, arrives. But the clock ticked forward relentlessly….it was time to go.

And on the way to the car, frustrated and defeated, I called them both brats(Ben was horrified when I admitted this– it’s indefensible, I know)– Sarah immediately burst into tears.

I’d promised them treats from Cafe Normandie– but we were late to Xander’s violin recital. We drove home in a chorus of tears.

Sitting through the recital(Xander was loverly) I felt horribly ashamed, but did I stop? No.

I told Xander that I’d take him to Cafe Normandie on the way home for a recital treat and I thought I could conveniently find something for my poor little victims. With white bags stuffed with giant chocolate cookies we emerged from the bakery into glorious, perfect evening light. “Oh Mary,” I begged, “Just one more photo– please.”

She consented to exactly one.


and then cried, “I need a potty!”

There are some needs I never ignore. With Mary in my arms, my camera bag over my shoulder, I raced across the field, straddled the fence– and I broke the bottom rung. Unable to even stop and apologize to the homeowner, I sped home.

My cell phone rang– “Mom are you ever going to pick us up from tennis?” Poor Stefan and Hans had been forgotten for nearly an hour. Ben couldn’t pick them up because I’d offered his babysitting services to a friend while I was gone(hmm, forgot about that too).

So after taking Mary and Xander home, retrieving my forgiving tennis players and picking up a pizza, I visited sweet Sarah just as she was trotting off to bed. “I’m so sorry.” I cried, handing her my chocolate peace offering. She hugged me placed a kiss on my cheek.

And today, all is forgiven(even the fence owner laughed it off), but next time– I’ll do better.

March 17, 2009
March 21, 2009



  1. martha corinna

    March 20, 2009

    Oh Michelle.

    I’ve been feeling awfully sorry for myself this week because there is so much packed in and I keep loosing my patience and I keep saying I’ll do better but I don’t. I don’t know what to do.

    Your post does make me feel slightly better though, and those photos are a bit of remedy in and of themselves.

    Thanks for being such a “perfect” example for me to follow.

  2. Danielle

    March 20, 2009

    aww dont feel too bad! We all go there sometimes. And that cannot be Mary – she is NOT that big! wow!

    I must know where you found those wonderful parasols!!!!

  3. jennie w.

    March 20, 2009

    Where did you get those dresses? Seriously!

  4. Blue

    March 20, 2009

    i was explaining to gator the other day that there is ALWAYS more than one story we can tell. that when the actors are off the screens, when the author is focusing on a different person, those characters we’re not hearing about/seeing are still having stories. that the storyteller is picking which parts to include in their telling.

    so when he comes home and tells me about all the BAD stuff that happened, i ask him to tell me a different story…the one about all the good or NOT bad stuff that happened in his day.

    as adults we become better tellers, putting out the version of our lives that we want to be known by, or that we wish were the whole story.

    it takes courage and humility to tell the whole tale. and even then, we never can do it. so though this incomplete confession portrays a certain part of the michelle we all know and love, it’s by no means anywhere close to the whole, real, complete, wonderful you. you’ll always be a super ☆ in my book!

    hope today is better!

  5. Michelle

    March 20, 2009

    I need to know about the dresses too….so perfect. Glad to know you have those days too, it makes you seem a little more human. XO

  6. Christie

    March 20, 2009

    Thank you for posting about it. We ALL do it. It’s nice to know that we’re not alone.

    Have you tried buying their services? My kids will always pose for cold, hard cash.

    Stinkin’ capitalists.

  7. twoelves

    March 20, 2009

    I love those pictures. That last one is a treasure! I’d like to know the brand of the dresses as well – too incredibly cute!

  8. im keara

    March 21, 2009

    awww! such beautiful pictures!!! i love their dresses!

  9. Michelle

    March 21, 2009

    Ah! the dresses are from genmarie.com– it’s a gorgeous little webstore.

    Thanks for your kind words– the next day I got to photograph Miss Kate who is a perfect dream!

  10. Cheryl

    March 21, 2009

    I loved this because you apologized later. This is the one thing I rarely heard from my own mother –I still love her dearly –but something I have really tried to do with my kids. I mean, I mess up ALL THE TIME! Sure, my kids don’t need to see me as an idiot –but they already know I’m not. They already forgive and love and see me as God sees me, and so apologizing for letting them down is good for us both. They know I’m sincere, they realize they can be imperfect too, and I strive to be better.
    A whole lot can sure come from an apology!

    P.S. Not that we should strive for commiseration through imperfection, but I’m glad we can. 🙂

  11. Selwyn

    March 21, 2009

    Oh, it was one of THOSE days!

    Full marks for effort in trying to get the shots… and the next day’s shots are breathtaking.

    Hoping you have one of those BETTER days soon!

  12. sarah

    March 21, 2009

    OK, I must admit that I just laughed when I read you called those two adorable little girls BRATS because it was just a few days ago that I called my two little girl brats and they just looked at me and laughed. My oldest Ruby said to me, “mom, what is a brat” and then I knew that i had introduced a new word that wasn’t so lovely.
    Gorgeous pictures of the cutest girls ever. I am sure Sarah got over that one pretty quick and Ash just laughed it off.
    You are so sweet to at least provide some treats for apology. Wish I lived around for you to come and steal my girls to photograph. YOU ROCK. Keep up the good work.

  13. wendy

    March 21, 2009

    I love your confessions. And the pictures. And you!

  14. Jan Russell

    March 22, 2009

    How is it possibly warm enough for those lovely dresses! I am jealous! Such cute girls, and since it’s well after the fact, I’m allowed to laugh at your confessions, right? Oh the fence is entirely too much!!!

  15. The Queen

    April 1, 2009

    this sounds like my christmas shoot from last year. 🙁

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