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New family photos, Christmas cards, and being ‘enough’

I haven’t sent Christmas cards the last three years. I have just hated pictures of myself. No amount of black clothing, red lipstick and hair bleach could cover up the fact that my weight was completely out of control. Not photographing the evidence was much easier to bear.

But each year, sweet friends faithfully sent us their family Christmas cards. I love getting them, seeing beautiful children, beloved pets, travel adventures. I cover every inch of the fridge with them. Nothing makes me feel more holiday cheer than seeing pictures of so many people I love all in one place. What a blessing! One of my favorite cards is always from Janai and Todd Rogers and their darling kids. Somehow, Janai always manages the cutest cards, bright and cheery, full of Christmas cheer.

Now, I have grown increasingly afraid that people will cut me from their card list because I haven’t sent them a card in so long. So I sent Janai a note, telling her how happy I was to get her card, and that I would send cards out again at some point. After I lost my last 20 pounds. Most of you know I had weight loss surgery more than a year ago. I had hoped to lose 100 pounds the first 12 months, but I am stuck at 80. Not exercising and being over 40 might be catching up to me… .

Janai politely told me to stop being so ridiculous.

So a few weeks ago, I forced myself to get over myself and booked family photos. Now I won’t pretend that it was easy. I shopped for days for the perfect outfit and earrings. I had my nails done and the very biggest hair I could manage. Because, you know, I always think that if my hair is big it will create a sense of balance, minimizing my maximus. Let me pretend, people.

I picked coordinating outfits for everyone else. Little son’s shorts matched my earrings, Bodacious wore glittering shoes and cat ears. The Hubs was the most comfortable in jeans and boots. But Hades decided to thwart me. Our photos were scheduled on what seriously felt like the hottest day Midland has ever had. By the time we finished at 11:30 a.m. it was already 104 degrees outside. Bodacious, who is pretty temperature sensitive, looks mad and flushed in the last photos. She is literally glowering at the photographer, and I just had to laugh when I saw the proofs.

Not only did I see how cute she was in those photos, I saw something else. Yes, vainly, I think I look pretty good in the pictures. Jane Iredale’s Moonglow bronzer and a rat-tooth comb can solve lots of problems. But more than sun-kissed with Texas-sized hair, I also look really happy. I look very much in love with my husband and my sweet babies. I even got a picture with all four of us where I am not hiding behind a child and I don’t have to creatively crop my body down in the photo. It might have been hotter than hell in that downtown alley, but I am pretty sure I received a Christmas miracle.

I may never lose the last 20 pounds, I may never be completely happy with my imperfect body. My children will never be 6 and 8 again, I will be 44 only once. But the love I have for my little family is forever. And capturing these perfect little moments in this perfect time is the greatest gift I could receive.

For all of you shying away from the camera because you don’t feel young enough or pretty enough or thin enough – you ARE enough. Just you, where you are at that moment in time, is enough. When we can embrace that feeling of completeness, it will show. It shows on our faces, in our actions, in the love we have for our children. You are enough. Please, don’t let years go by before you recognize it, either. Start now. As Janai said, “There’s no day like today!”

Let me know if you want on my mailing list! I’m sure I will mail out cards sometime before Christmas. Or way after. Coordinating family outfits I can do, but timeliness is not my strong suit!

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