2013 was a good year, and our family immortalized it with a typically awkward Christmas photo, which of course I will include in the my blog as well as a few from the archives. I am not sure when the Christmas Photo trend started it seems like an 80s thing to me. I can remember having family portraits in the 70s but not Christmas card photos until at least the mid eighties when cameras became more accessible right in time to capture my awkward years. I have two siblings though and it’s a toss up at who looks worse each year, there is usually someone, my mother, who looks good every year, and that’s the perks of being the matriarch and having editorial control. I suppose she should be called the grand matriarch now.
The grand matriarch is a woman of many agendas, and photographs are often at the top of her list. She has an iphone, an ipad, an imac but she still carries photos around in her purse. Thank god my sister gave her a grandchild in 2009 or she would still be carrying pictures of my thirty one year old little brother around in a baby blue pleather wallet frame. She now has three grandchildren, the youngest is my daughter Eva and the grand matriarch just hounded me for two weeks to print out a picture of Eva for aforementioned pleather wallet frame. At the last minute before she departed on a trip, I fished out some photo paper and obliged. Need I mention my mother has plenty of pictures of Eva, she has an imac, a printer and photopaper. I reminded her that she could also show people pictures on her iphone but when I started talking about how she had to download Iphoto 11 and then when she took a photo on her iphone it would magically appear on her computer in Photostream. Lets just say she looked at me like I was talking about the delta flight to Mars. I gave up on initiating my mother to modern technology, she is not on facebook and thank heavens will never read my blog!
My mother never warns us when she has decided to take the family photo, although she has probably been planning it for some time, and you are not safe after the month of October. It could be the worst day of your entire life, you could have a bee sting on your eyelid and a fat lip and be at a family party and out would pop the professional photographer and especially if you are, like we are, related to a professional photographer- then you are never safe. My mother has the perfect way of picking the imperfect moment. Before the days of photoshop my mother’s editorial control would predictably choose the best picture of herself, which would undoubtedly be the shot where I looked like a deformed cousin. There was no way to make it democratic. Now we use photoshop and try to find an equitable solution.
Trolling through the shots this year…. Yes you can imagine I am the one with the unwashed hair and no makeup. I asked my mother for warning and her only response was that I should not have left the house looking like that. I have gained at least some control over my mother with the fact that she asks my husband Chris to print her annual Christmas card, which is how I caught the picture of me pregnant in a bathing suit, which she snuck into the family photo montage a few years ago- I almost fainted. We now have a chance to edit her Christmas letter too. Once she wrote that my husband was the CEO of his company which was not only untrue ( he is Sales and marketing manager) it is also blatantly wishful thinking. When we got married she drafted our wedding invitation because it was “her wedding” and when we saw the proof she had given him a new middle name. Christopher Fortescue Worsick. My husband does not have a middle name, but my mother thought he needed one and her invention, came out of a gross misunderstanding of a joke three years before, you can expect nothing less.
This Christmas we convinced the grand matriarch to tell the truth a little bit more so we put the photoshopped picture on the front of the card, and one of the real pictures on the back but that can’t change the Christmas Letter which is usually an inflated, competitive and highly selective version of the truth. For instance this year, she writes about my father:
“Rick continues as Chairman of the St. George’s Foundation and President of the St. David’s Historical Society ( Carter House c 1640). This year the construction of a Settler’s dwelling c 1612 was completed. Rick received the “Clipper Award” from the Bermuda National Trust “for contributions to and unwavering support of St. George’s and St. David’s and championing their preservation.”
What she doesn’t mention is that she threatened to burn down the dwelling, a replica of a 1612 settlers house that was made by hand by forty volunteers and masons, and it took over a year to build with antique tools that look like this and wooden tree nails:
She also didn’t mention that she calls all of his colleagues “relic hunters” and refers to them mockingly as his girlfriends even though most of them are male.
She mentions how my sister trained and ran the New York Marathon, an amazing feat, but my sister’s real motivation was to get some personal time away from her two kids, Trystan 5 and Sadie 2. As any mother knows you have to come up with a good reason to stash them with someone else even if it’s their own father. But a marathon- I haven’t gotten there yet myself as I can barely run around the block, but if I had a second child, my name would be at the bottom of the marathon sign up sheet with all the other mothers and fathers escaping the weekend trappings of family life even if it was a race I would never finish!
My brother’s paragraph is still feeling the weight of omissions from previous years, and true as it maybe, the family is, has not and will not be full of job success, weddings and births year in and year out. Take my paragraph, I might as well be unemployed because I made the hilariously naïve decision to become a documentary film maker which is being unemployed and extremely busy all at the same time, oh wait- being a derelict mother feels exactly the same way. I highly doubt my mother will advertise in next year’s letter that her oldest daughter has started a blog, www.derelictmom.com. But maybe I should have more faith in my mother, always a truth spinner as she could probably editorialize it into a positive. Perhaps she will say that I have chosen to “self publish” a series of essays on motherhood. Or she might choose to believe the internet does not exist like her iphone.
Anyway here are our most recent family photos and some from the archives. I don’t have too many followers so hopefully my siblings will forgive me for sharing these.
Xxx Derelict Mom.