Let me take you back 20 years, the year is 1989, I'm 7 years young. My family gets this great idea to get all the cousins together for a portrait... my family is super neat in that we have 4 'families' - My Gma (dad's mom) had 4 kids; Jackie, Jill, Jayne, and John - each of which were married and had kids, a boy first and a girl second - 8 cousins total. This was to be a portrait for my gma's birthday.
Here is the final product (after a long time of trying to get a good one):
(Click to Enlarge)
Now follow me back to the year 2009, about 3 months ago. My cousin Bryan (who is in the blue shirt with black stripes in the above picture) buys a house and has a house warming party. Me and my 2 girl cousins, Shannon and Michelle (who are the smallest girls in the above picture and also the girls I have pictures ALL OVER Facebook with), decide we need to take a look through Bryan's photo albums. We find above photo and laugh about how funny we look (like my hair!) and then I look at the date and say Holy Crap, did you realize that was 20 years ago?! We all stop and look at each other in utter shock. Then our brains get going thinking things like Gma's Birthday is right around the corner... could we really pull something like this off?! More importantly, can we pull it off without our parents knowing?!
Many email and lots of research later... we have a date set, everyone can make it (which is asking a ton, if you know my family), this is for Gma... this is going to be good!
Shannon and myself are pretty much running the show, talking to people, telling people what to wear, etc. About a week before our portrait date Shannon and I start freaking out... what if someone doesn't show up? What is a dark color really? Is Bright Orange dark, cause I really wanna wear this shirt? All the things two twenty somethings think about when planning such a huge thing!
Now walk with me to the day... it's a Monday, I work my shift, a complete wreck most of the day thinking about who I think will and won't show up (either cause they forgot or because 'something came up').... I go home, change and grab a spare shirt in case I don't match the rest of the bunch, Shannon picks me up (then insists we make a stop at a way overpriced Lemonade Stand on the way), we make our way to Target. I'm in the bright Orange shirt after telling everyone to wear a dark color (what can I say, I look good in Orange). A few people are there... so far so good... a few more people show up... the last person to show is the person we were all most worried about... finally... HE SHOWS!!! All 8 of us!?!? Seriously, can this be real?!?! Hurry Quick, before someone runs away!
Now follow me to about two weeks after the portrait when I go to Target and pick it up. My jaw drops because this thing is so beautiful... and we all took the time to make it happen - Grandma is going to LOVE this! I'm blown away, I can't wait to buy a frame and present this to gma on her birthday (which happens to be the 4th of July and a major family gathering [although this year it wasn't a full crowd]).
July 4th (actually July 3rd, but it was a July 4th celebration)- The day to give the gift. Shannon, Michelle and I are all giddy with excitement... we can't wait BUT we have to wait for everyone to be there before we can let her open it... ugh.. Bryan is taking FOREVER to get there! What feels like 7 hours later, he finally arrives... we beg our aunts (who have been in the dark technically, but have pretty well figured it out at this point) can we let her open it now... is it time for presents now?! PLEASE?!!!!!? They finally let us... Gma sees it and knows instantly what it is (come on, a huge picture frame wrapped isn't exactly hard to guess). She doesn't know what it looks like though. There were tears shed before she opened it!
Here is a shot of her opening it and seeing it for the first time:
Now, would you like to see it too? I'll bet you would... 20 years have passed since we had our first portrait taken, we are older and (some of us) wiser; enjoy!
(Click to Enlarge)
Back Row: Jason, Jeff, Paul, Bryan
Front Row: Angela (me), Michelle, Kelly, Shannon
(each set of siblings are paired up)
I love my family. We made Grandma's 85th Birthday a very special one for her... and it was worth every ounce of effort we put into it; I'd do it a million times over again to see the look on that lady's face!