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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Full Suburban: Come rain or shine, the family photo will be taken

UPDATED: Sun., Nov. 14, 2021

The Ditto family enjoyed a break from the rain to take family photos this month.  (Mindy Hymas)
The Ditto family enjoyed a break from the rain to take family photos this month. (Mindy Hymas)
By Julia Ditto For The Spokesman-Review

November is the month of gratitude. I believe we are bursting with felicitous vibes because November is the only time of year when we are given the green light to basically eat whatever we want for an entire day.

Six types of pie on my kitchen countertop definitely make me feel like the world is a beautiful place, and I want to spread joy and peace to all of mankind. How about you? In this spirit of gratitude, I will write about something I am grateful for, big or small, for the remainder of my columns in November. Here we go!

Family pictures are a big deal to me. Ever since our kids were small, we have gotten an official photo snapped once a year, usually at a park, lake or even in our own backyard. I don’t love the process; in fact, I kind of turn into Mommie Dearest on picture day.

But I l do love the result. Having a nice picture to put on our wall, on the desk in my office and on Christmas cards sent to family and friends is important to me. This time, I scheduled our pictures later in the year than usual – this month – in order to allow time for George to get his braces off and thus give us one blessed year of orthodontia-free photos.

Our photographer, Mindy Hymas, a friend of mine, cautioned that, with the sun setting so early, we would have a very narrow sliver of daylight in which to get the photos taken. For us, this was from 3:30 when my boys exited the school bus until the sun set around 5. On top of that, the forecast for the day of our photoshoot called for pouring rain. All. Day. Long. Of course.

As the day approached, Mindy and I texted back and forth trying to come up with a plan B in case the rain didn’t let up. She’s a busy mom who also runs a small business with her husband, so her time was limited. Our family was likewise staring down an incredibly busy week, so coming up with any other day to shoot our family pictures was proving almost impossible.

We finally settled on a worst-case scenario of taking the pictures the following Saturday, which just about made me weep as I thought of the logistical jiu-jitsu I would have to perform to get everyone corralled from their far-flung Saturday activities in time for pictures.

Now, I know that family pictures are not a life-or-death situation. The world was not going to end if the Dittos didn’t get their photoshoot done that day. But it would ease my stress level significantly to just get it over with. In short: It mattered to me. And I believe that God cares about what matters to us, whether it’s big or small. So, I started praying.

“Please, please let there be a break in the rain so we can get this done,” I pleaded the night before our photoshoot. “And if that’s not possible, help me to at least be calm about the alternative.” The day of the photoshoot, I woke up to pouring rain. It rained steadily until noon, at which point there was a break in the clouds, and my heart welled with hope.

But a couple hours later, the rain returned. My kids got home from school, and the drizzle had not let up. I ushered them into my bedroom to change into the coordinating outfits that I had laid out on my bed, curated from the finest fall clothing Target has to offer.

Mindy arrived with her camera, and it was raining still. “What do you think?” I asked her as we both stared into the gray mist. “I see a little blue sky over there,” she said, pointing to the west. “That’s promising. Let me get my camera out, and I’ll start testing the light. Maybe things will clear.” I said another prayer in my heart, and I’m pretty sure Mindy did, too.

As we gelled hair, tucked in shirts and applied final layers of lip gloss, the drizzling slowed down, and the clouds lifted. By the time Mindy had set up her camera, the rain had stopped completely. For one hour, we took our family photos without a single drop of rain in perfect light softened by the gentle cloud cover.

“It’s a miracle!” I exclaimed, too happy to slip into my usual Mommie Dearest mode. Things don’t always work out just the way I want them to, but, in this case, they did – and I’ve got the pictures to prove it.

Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and a random menagerie of farm animals in Spokane Valley. She can be reached at dittojulia@gmail.com.

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