I sort of thought I was beyond the point where I was going to find things I was bad at as a “mom.” I mean, it is clear that fashion for teenage females is not a strength. Navigating and understanding the girls’ friendships is also a struggle for me. The list of things that my wife could do better with raising daughters would be about the same length as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Unfortunately, last week, we discovered another.
Two months ago I received an email informing me that I needed to send five photos to be included in the end of year slide show for the mother/daughter charity league that DJ has been a member of since she was in 7th grade. Aunt Sallie has been the stand in mom for the past few years.
The deadline for submitting the photos was January 5. So, on January 4th I began digging through Shutterfly and Facebook to find pics that I felt would be appropriate representations of DJ’s life and interests.
This was my thinking:
Pic #1: Lisa and DJ, for it is a mother/daughter club and they did start it together.
Pic #2: DJ and Aunt Sallie, for Sallie is her stand in mom for the National Charity League.
Pic #3: DJ and me, for I have received the 29,652 emails about this club for the past five years and I deserve some credit. I know this one is a bit unconventional, but I felt it captured our relationship fairly well.
Pic #4: DJ sailing at Camp Seafarer – sailing is cool; she loves camp; lots of girls in NCL go to camp.
Pic #5: DJ, in full costume at our annual performance of A Christmas Carol – which has been a huge part of our lives for the past four years.
While I was at it, I ordered some photos for my photo album.
When they arrived, I proudly displayed them on the coffee table. Smart dad! Ordered photos so all can remember their childhood! What a Lisa thing to do.
I was quite dismayed when my daughters began informing me how much they hated some of the pictures I had ordered.
“Oooo. That is a horrible photo of me. You ARE NOT framing that one!”
“But I LOVE that picture. You look so cute.”
DJ nearly had a stroke when she saw the photo from A Christmas Carol in her Chimney Sweep getup.
“Dad, where did this come from? It’s terrible.”
“Well I like it. In fact, it is one of the photos I sent in for the NCL slide show. It is one of my favorites.”
STOP THE BUS.
I’m sure parents of teenaged girls can imagine the next ten minutes in our house. I was berated. The pic was forwarded to friends who confirmed that I was an idiot and inept at choosing senior slide show pictures. I was informed that DJ was taking over the next deadline, the yearbook ad, which also called for photograph selection and the crafting of a public message.
She then discovered that I had sent the sailing pic which was apparently a selfie. I had no idea that you were not to send selfies in for senior slide shows. I looked back at the original email, and that was not outlined as a guideline for photo selection.
She went as far as to text the Christmas Carol picture to one of her stand in moms with this message:
Dad sent this picture in for a senior slide show. This is why I need a mother!
Had there been a fifty year old woman at the house that night, I believe she would have made me get married on the spot simply to insure there would be someone else to help guide me through the next four months.
I will say that one of her sweet friends told her that although she totally agreed with DJ about the picture, she could sort of see why a father might think it was a sweet picture of his daughter.
I also informed DJ that the difference between her mother and me was that I would send in new slides and ask to delete the ones she did not like. Had Lisa incorrectly chosen, she would have told DJ to suck it up and go to her room.
I wish I had more chutzpah.
PS: DJ did give me permission to put these photos on my blog because "only old people read it."
Purchase Bruce’s Book Laughter, Tears and Braids: Amazon or Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh