‘Mom, I shouldn’t have worn the green shirt for pictures. It will blend in with the green screen they use.’

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“The first day of school. A new year. A new grade level. A fresh start. A clean slate.

Back to the daily routine of waking early, riding busses….recess, packed lunches and homework. The day moms all across the land look forward to after a seemingly LONG summer home with their kiddos. Am I right?

The first day of school also means PICTURE DAY for our local middle school.

My oldest son Carter is in the 7th grade. He’s an amazing kid. We have a great relationship. The kind where he talks to me about everything (I think) and he still lets me offer my opinion and/or pick out his clothes (when it matters.) For weeks, we knew picture day was coming. A couple of days before school started, we talked about what shirt he should wear. If you have boys like me, you understand the ‘everything has to be dry-fit’ wardrobe. Any dry-fit shirt that has a collar is a fancy enough picture-day shirt in my book. He has a few of those so it would be an easy decision to pick one.

Our discussions went a little like this.

Me: ‘You have the dark gray, but that might blend in with the gray background they used in last year’s picture.’

Carter: ‘Yeah.’

Me: ‘You also have the navy, but you have already worn that one before. And last year you had this darker turquoise color on.’ We referred back to the 6th grade ‘head and shoulders only’ picture that is proudly hung in our foyer.

Carter: ‘Yeah, okay. So what do we have left?’

Me: ‘Well, this green one. That should look great against the gray or taupe background. Whatever they use.’

Carter: ‘Yeah, okay. Any kind of shorts?’

Me: ‘Yes, shorts don’t really matter.’

Decision made. It was the green shirt’s turn. Now all that’s left to do is practice the smile and the hair management.

‘Don’t squint your eyes so much. Look more natural. Smile like someone just said something funny. Not like you’re scared that someone is sneaking up behind you.’

(Lots of smiling practice. He’s adorable. I can watch him smile at me all day long.)

Now the hair. ‘Just run your fingers through. Like this. You don’t want it hanging in your eyes and you definitely don’t want to have to worry about retakes. Just ask the photographer if it looks okay right before they take it. Okay? It will be great. I can’t wait to see how they turn out.’

Done and done. It’s going to be a great first day.

Courtesy Laurel Boone Hutsell

Later that day I was so excited to see both of my kids. The first thing Carter says to me is ‘Mom, I shouldn’t have worn the green shirt for pictures. It will blend in with the green screen they used.’ I respond with ‘They used a green screen? What?! I probably should have read some fine print. Maybe they will be ok.’

Was there fine print about a green screen? I have no idea. I don’t remember seeing any papers about pictures, especially since it was the first day of school. And we receive so many emails from both the middle and elementary schools, I have to admit I don’t always pay close attention like I should. So I might have missed the memo on that.

Two days later, after both boys were already at school, I opened my email. I see ‘Carter’s picture is here. Place your order today!’ I couldn’t wait to see how great his smile, hair and shirt looked.

As soon as I saw the proofs, I had to look again. Out loud I said to myself ‘Oh my gosh. He was right. That’s exactly what happened.’ I could not stop laughing. Each picture was better than the next. The flags? That autumn scene with the fence? I really couldn’t believe my handsome boy’s head and arms were just floating there. I showed my husband and we got such a good laugh from it. And guess what? His smile and hair are PERFECT! HA!

Courtesy Laurel Boone Hutsell
Courtesy Laurel Boone Hutsell
Courtesy Laurel Boone Hutsell
Courtesy Laurel Boone Hutsell
Courtesy Laurel Boone Hutsell
Courtesy Laurel Boone Hutsell
Courtesy Laurel Boone Hutsell

I posted the proofs on Facebook and the first few friends suggested I make it a public post so they could share it. Comments like ‘I’m dying!’ and ‘This is the funniest thing I have EVER seen!’ were blowing up my newsfeed. So I thought ‘Why not? Maybe it will get a few shares and brighten someone’s day.’

My son – “Mom, I shouldn’t have worn the green shirt for pictures. It will blend in with the green screen they…

Posted by Laurel Boone Hutsell on Friday, August 17, 2018

Fast forward a few hours. It was shared WAY more than I thought it would be. I was getting texts and messages from friends and even strangers about it. When Carter got home, I reminded him what he told me would happen about the shirt and then I showed him. With a big smile he said ‘I told you.’ He couldn’t believe how many comments, likes and shares it had already, and it was only a few hours later.

Now a few days have gone by and we are having so much fun with this. I really can’t believe it’s all happening! I have received tons of messages from other moms, thanking me for sharing this #momfail and for making them laugh. Lots of people are commenting about how handsome my son is and how much this has brightened their day. This is a memory and a story we’ll have to tell for a lifetime.

As moms, we do the best we can. We love our kids. We support. We encourage. And we try to prepare. But in the end, there’s a chance our kids will still have a floating head in a flag, autumn scene or brick wall. And that my friends, is a hilarious thing to be okay with.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laurel Boone Hutsell, 42, of Missouri . Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best love stories here.

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