I think everyone that joins in with the Me and Mine project regularly will say that one of the nicest things about it is having the pictures that you wouldn’t have taken if you weren’t being prompted to find a picture with all of you in it. And it’s true, before I started this project 18 months ago, I had pictures of all of us on high days, holidays and that was about it if we were lucky.
I’m quite good at remembering to take pictures of all of us on birthdays now, or to celebrate some special moment, but I’ll admit this is the first time I think I’ve ever actually managed to take a picture of the whole family on Christmas day. Christmas photos, yes, photos with the tree in the background yes, but organising the whole family into the right spot, hoping for good light and having time to take photos in between church and presents and roasting turkeys and making yorkshire pudding batter, well it doesn’t usually happen.
But this year Christmas Day dawned bright and sunny, I discovered that in moving around the furniture earlier in the year I’d moved the play kitchen to the perfect spot to stand in for the tripod, and after that all we needed was a bit of luck, and the remote trigger to pay attention.
So here we are, our first photo of the family on our first Christmas Day as a family of five, Kitty and Elma in beautiful Christmas dresses, Pip dressed in a reindeer babygro and the ‘My First Christmas’ t-shirt that his cousin wore only last year, while H and I wore the clothes that were the least covered in baby drool – well at least they were when we put them on.
I’m sat on my knees which is why I seem to be so much taller than everyone else, and I rather suspect the book on family portraits that’s sat under the tree behind me is going to come in handy over the next year; I still harbour dreams of photos where everyone is looking at the camera and even looking vaguely happy about it – Elma looks mostly hungry in these pictures, which I think is why she’s clutching the bag of mini party rings from her stocking.
But I don’t really see all of that when I look at these pictures. They are in some ways the tipping off point for my memories, not the memories themselves. I look at them and smell the cooking coming from the kitchen, see the sunshine coming dancing in and showing up the cobwebs and hear Kitty’s excited voice “and then can we open a present!”.
I see joy, and celebration, and I see my little family, at Christmas.