Due to sheer exhaustion from an incredibly busy week, we decided to ring in the new year at 9pm, with everyone in New York, instead of waiting for midnight to arrive on the west coast. After toasting the new year (with sparkling cider) while watching 2010 give way to 2011, I wanted to capture the moment with a picture of the whole family. It didn't go so well.
To paint the scene, picture someone not quite two crying, a feverish four-year old boy jockeying for position on Daddy's lap, and five other kids trying to figure out where to plant themselves on the couch. Finally, we gave up on the baby, deciding to record for all history only those who were cooperating with the process. Then, a younger sister blocked her sibling's face with a glass of sparkling cider and that sibling hit the younger sister on the arm while everyone else tried to get out of the way. Tears and trauma ensued, all serenaded by the wails of a very unhappy toddler.
Finally, after addressing the behavior issues and the attitude issues and again quieting the baby, everyone was reassembled on the couch (minus the baby, who was on Mommy's lap). Before counting to three, I told everyone to plaster on fake smiles. Then, I snapped the picture. It actually turned out better than I would have expected, considering the circumstances. But, looking at the photo in the future, I won't see just the smiles on faces, I'll remember the sounds, the sorrow, and the chaos that preceded it knowing just how "happy" the experience really was.