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We might be misfits, but at least we're not them.

I photograph people, primarily girls in white dresses , but I also do a fair amount of families and children. During this breif but intense time with a family, I always find myself comparing what I think their life is to mine, how they parent their kids to how we parent, how smart their kids are to mine. I generally come away feeling good about myself in comparison, but today I really did.

I had agreed to a do a family session today, and had booked it through my youngest son's preschool as part of their overall photography fundraiser (I had already taken school pictures of 175 preschool aged kids.) I dropped my normal price in half for these preschool family sessions, and my last family scheduled for today had 6 members.

The family I was to take pictures of arrived in two minivans. Out of one van poured Mom, Dad, grandma and three kids (triplets, 17 months old). out from the other van came another child, another grandma, a grandpa, and a great grandma with an obvious replacement knee pushing a wheeled walker. It took them 15 minutes to gather themselves and make it 20 yards from the parking lot to where I was going to start clicking the shutter. There was bickering, arguing, and the triplets running everywhere.

After spending 20 minutes placing them where I wanted them and taking a few pictures, the triplets became bored and began running off. The dad started screaming and threatening them (like that ever does any good.) The mom started yelling at the dad about his yelling at the kids, and her mom was at her ear saying she was right, he shouldn't yell at the kids that way. It also soon became apparent that certain members of the "family" really didn't want to be there in the first place.

This went on and on. Chaos every 7 minutes. I am usually pretty good at controlling the situation with families, but this became too much for me right from the outset. I had planned on this session taking about 35 minutes, but it turned out lasting over an hour.

I sometimes lose it with my kids too, but we are usually good at setting our expectations at a reasonable level when we endevour a family outing, even if the outing is just to the store. Never have I witnessed such tension and obvious dislike (for each other and what was being attempted) from a group before. I came away mentally tired, but satisfied and happy that even with all the stuff we go through, at least we're not them.