Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: Have an imperfect Easter

Mar. 30, 2013 @ 07:12 PM

For my son’s first Easter, now five years ago, he had an adorable little suit to wear to church.

But we didn’t go that year.

Instead, Easter weekend was spent in a new parent panic, first at a doctor’s office, then at a hospital having him X-rayed. As anyone who has raised a baby knows, a high fever in a little one, especially the first time, is rather worrisome.

Going to the pediatrician on a Saturday resulted in a relatively new doctor who ran a gamut of tests, including that X-ray, which I now think was overdoing it. All those tests on our boy resulted in a diagnosis of nothing. The next morning, Easter morning, his fever broke and he was fine. As for that little suit, my boy wore it for me that Mother’s Day and looked adorable, of course.

We have certain expectations of holidays and big events – who will be there, what we’ll do, what we’ll eat, even what we’ll look like – that don’t always come to fruition. This year, I assumed that the arrival of official spring would equal spring temperatures. But as we see the daffodils and forsythia blooming, we tighten our coats around us. I’m wearing a scarf as I type this.

I think better moments result from no expectations. If you celebrate Easter today and your dress isn’t as flattering as you thought once you see the photos, and your new shoes get scuffed, so what? If a kid eats too much Easter basket candy and throws up in the yard, so what? If every photo has one person blinking, big deal. Who wants an image of perfection, anyway? Because we know anything that looks perfect is just an image.

I have two photos of my grandfather with his four siblings – all but one of the five now gone, rest their souls.

This was back when there were a finite number of images to capture, not a slew of digital files. One photo is the five of them standing together, smiling at the camera, everyone’s eyes open. The next shot is the moment after the formal photo was taken. They’ve started walking away. They’re still smiling, but at each other, not the camera.

That photo is my favorite.

My favorite photo of my grandmother (other side of the family) is of her sitting on a floral couch, cigarette in hand. She is smiling and relaxing. I love that photo because it is her just as she was.

If you take Easter pictures today, don’t expect perfection. Someone will be missing due to illness or work or whatever. That’s OK. Not everyone has to be in every photo. What you’ll capture is life how it is today. Someone with a run in her stocking. Reflection off glasses. A kid making a face. Another kid crying. Someone else blinking. A chocolate stain.

That’s the photo to frame. Just, life.


Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan may be reached at dvaughan@heraldsun.com or 919-419-6563.