Menopausers have endured much. You don't get to be this age without surviving a number of catastrophes, calamities, and casualties. (Don't you love a good alliteration?)
One of the things our family has attempted to do over the years is performing that annual ritual: the taking of the family portrait. The memory of such ill-fated forays is indelibly etched upon my mind. First, there is the whole "what do we wear" thing.
The Choate family was never coordinated enough to have everyone wear matching outfits. You've seen those beautiful portraits where parents and children appear in jeans and matching denim shirts. Not for us. No, we considered ourselves lucky if we were all dressed with any buttons done up in the right order.
Then there is the "keeping your hands to yourself" thing. At one family portrait taking, our then 13-year-old son persisted in putting his hand behind his sister's head and making a rude gesture.
"Please put your hand down," the photographer said in a strained voice.
I glared at our son, who gave me an innocent smile. Up went that hand again.
"Please put your hand down." The photographer's voice ratcheted up a notch.
On the third attempt, Rob (those who know our family won't be surprised that it was Rob) stuck his hand behind his sister's head. Again.
"Put your damn hand down." Patience and politeness had fled. The photographer appeared to have aged ten years in the last ten minutes.
Somehow the poor man managed to get a picture of us. We escaped with no blood shed. And called the evening a success.