what's wrong with this picture?
Do you remember Highlights magazine? If you do, you probably remember the monthly 'what's wrong with this picture?' feature. Two seemingly identical pictures that would have you hunting for the toy that had been erased from the prototype picture. Maybe you'd quickly spot the way polka dots where once there had been none were added to the little girl's skirt. Perhaps there would have been an addition of a playful squirrel scurrying across a tree. Sometimes a pair of horns could be spotted emerging from the cranium of the grinning boy.
Or perhaps I liked to bastardize my copies of Highlights magazine, and if so, now you get a glimpse of why I am the way I am today.
If you never saw an old school Highlights magazine, and you're still reading this post, I'll assume you're either thinking of fun ways to talk about how old I am in the comments, but I will counter with the response that your parents must not have loved you, therefore depriving you of routine medical care and the opportunity to peruse ragged copies of Highlights while you aged in the waiting room. Sticks and stones, friends. Sticks and stones.
And now, back to the show:
See that beautiful photo of my sons up there? I took it this weekend at an area apple orchard we visited during this crazy thing we like to call "family time." If this picture appeared in Highlights, this would be the 'right' picture in the great 'what's wrong with this picture' debate. It looks very peaceful and loving, doesn't it? Kind of makes you think (and perhaps say) "I wish those kids were mine," quietly while at your desk at work (you'd say it quietly, of course, so as not to disturb or freak out your coworkers, because admit it, saying that has the potential of making you sound like a kidnapper and you don't want - nay, need - that kind of rumor going around the cubicles). If you said that kind of thing, believe me, I'd agree with you. For that brief moment when my boys turned and began walking away from me, it was the most peaceful and loving moment of our "family time" day together.
Here's what you would have seen in the other photo had I been able to capture that on film:
- Lots of whining (and maybe some thrashing on the ground among family members who may have included me, but surely you don't think that about me) who complained about how they were any of the following: hot, hungry, tired, thirsty.
- A Thunderdome-style battle of wills between the boys when both returned to the patch pulling wagons to cart our goods, despite the very clearly marked rule that there could be just one cart per group. In this case, my six year old was straight up Mad Max.
- The moment just before this picture was taken when I glanced behind me, noticed the vast treeline behind the pumpkin patch, and considered making my escape while no one was looking. The only thing that stopped me is the fact that I am a straight-up suburban girl, and I figured my escape would require at least two, maybe three, days of hiding deep in the bowels of the timber before authorities gave up the search.
- Me being just a bit pissed at the unexpressed thought that the authorities would probably search for me longer than my family.
- A lot of pictures of the boys that are no good because their faces are squished up "from the sun burning out our eyes! Wah! Wah! Wah!"
- A less-than-idle-sounding threat someone (I'm not saying who) made that involved shoving a gourd somewhere in another person's body where gourds shouldn't typically go.
- Entirely too much talking about goat poop.
- Tool Man wondering where the $2/person fee for the corn maze went in the grand scheme of things. Yes. The man is squeaky.
- Me rethinking my previous escape idea when the boys entered the corn maze, and I eyeballed our car parked nearby and how I could be halfway home before they emerged from the field.
- An argument over some apples. Well, it wasn't really an argument so much as it was an annoying, unnecessary discussion, and for the briefest moment, I thought it was a pity that Adam hadn't been stronger in the face of Eve's temptations with that damn piece of fruit.
There was so much more, of course, but, as would typically be the case if you were sitting in the doctor's waiting room (assuming your parents loved you and took you to the doctor, remember?!), the nurse would poke her head out and call you back to the exam room, leaving you only halfway through your search for differences in the Highlights picture (and there were always one or two finds that would stump you!). Consider me your nurse.
Here's what's right about that photo: Those two boys pictured in it? Yeah, they are pretty awesome, and our day together, with all it's little faults, was fantastic. This makes me feel peaceful and lucky.
Even if, from time to time, horns emerge from their craniums.