It was picture day at school today. We nearly missed the annual event. This is because the child who was scheduled to have his portrait taken is a boy who sees little importance in remembering something as insignificant as picture day.
He doesn't pause and consider that his mom might really, truly want a photo package and refrigerator magnet starring his cute and smiling face. I do. But he is a little boy, and his brain does not tarry on this type of thought. From his perspective, the one thing worthwhile about picture day is the free plastic comb, and that can't even begin to make up for cancelling gym class.
Just weeks ago, my older son did miss picture day. Oh, he was at school and they took his photo, but the only place I'll see it is in the yearbook. The order envelope never made it home, so I was unaware of the photo opportunity awaiting him at school - as was he.
"I guess I missed the memo," he said with the nonchalance of a teenager who can ignore dozens of picture day posters hanging on the walls throughout the high school. I let out a mom sigh, as I am prone to do on certain (many) occasions and gave silent thanks for retakes.
I realize the actions of my sons don't speak for others of the male persuasion. I am sure there are plenty of young fellows out there who do their fair share of prepping for picture day. Those boys do not live at my house. My sons do not place a whole lot of value on a portrait displaying their orthodontically perfect smiles. They'd much rather photo bomb.
Boys will be boys, I know, I know. I just wonder sometimes why they have to be so boyish about it.
I remember the anticipation and excitement of picture day when I was a kid. Everyone came to school wearing their best outfits and practiced their best smiles in the lavatory mirrors on the way to the gymnasium. One girl in my class came with her hair in an updo every picture day. The rest of the year she had regular hair like the rest of us. In 1976, we all wore red, white and blue so we'd look good in front of the bicentennial American flag background.
Each year, when our picture packages arrived, we carefully cut around the edges of the exchange size photos and traded them with all of our best friends forever. We wrote on the back - things like "Stay cool," "Keep in touch," and "Luv ya." I arranged mine in a Holly Hobby photo album. Still have it. Sadly, a true story.
I had to remind my son three times this morning about his picture day envelope. If not for me, it would still be sitting on the kitchen table.
It goes without saying, he didn't consider his attire and whether it would coordinate well with the slate blue picture day background. He wore an old t-shirt. When I asked him about this, he covered the old t-shirt with an old sweatshirt and headed toward the door. I grabbed the picture envelope and handed it to him. Again.
"Remember to smile," I said, hoping he wouldn't lose the envelope on the way to school, which would leave me zero for two this year - and completely picture day picture-less. Well, unless you count Holly Hobby.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, playwright and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication" You can read more columns at the Slices of Life page on Facebook.