Most parents have been there: you open up the school picture envelope to discover that your son or daughter was not exactly at their most photogenic that day.
Maybe they’ve got an unfortunate cowlick or their shirt is buttoned wrong, or perhaps they’re just making a strange facial expression. There are a million ways that school pictures can go wrong, but when Stronajai Miles of Atlanta, Georgia, found her son Andrew’s picture packet buried in his backpack she was totally unprepared for what she saw.
“I was doing my normal routine, checking his bag and getting his clothes together for the upcoming week,” Stronajai explained. “I checked his book bag to make sure I didn’t need to sign anything… I was totally shocked! Yes, he’s taken pictures like that before – but NEVER for a school picture.”
There, smiling up at her in his characteristically goofy way, was her little boy making this face.
Stronajai’s jaw hit the floor as she pulled out sheet after sheet of the same ridiculous picture. While our first reaction is to laugh out loud at this hilarious kid’s face, his mother had a very different initial reaction. She was furious!
“I’m so mad right now! I checked my son’s book bag and find these!!!!” she wrote in a Facebook rant.
3/10/19I’m so mad right now! I checked my sons book bag and find these!!!!3/11/19 Edit: these pictures have not been…
“Andrew is a silly kid with a big personality!” Stronajai said. “He loves to make people laugh and smile and he LOVES the camera! He enjoys making videos on the tablet and he is always camera-ready when it’s time for a picture! He has taken photos in pre-kindergarten and he has taken fall photos which were actually done by Lifetouch School Photography as well and they came out ‘perfect,’ they had him posing traditionally and smiling normally.”
Stronajai contacted the portrait company and learned that they specialize in taking candid pics that will demonstrate the students’ unique personalities. She was still fuming when something magical began to happen. More and more people began to look at Drew’s pictures online, clicking “like” and “share” so much that before she knew it, they’d gone viral!
Better yet, all of the kind comments people were leaving started to change Stronajai’s whole mindset about the situation. She started to see the humor in the photos and understand that her son’s personality was making people smile worldwide.
“They opened my eyes to see that everything doesn’t need to be cookie cutter. Being yourself is even more amazing!” she said. “Knowing that his silly picture brought joy all over the world, how can I continue to be flustered?”
Drew was just being himself, after all — and that’s a pretty great person to be!
Stronajai soon returned to Facebook to explain why she was initially upset by the pictures, as well as why she’s no longer mad. It all comes down to truly loving our children for who they are.
“Firstly, we have decided to purchase the photos,” Stronajai wrote. “I was initially upset because I was expecting a traditional school picture. […] I saw an article that said free-spirited photos are their policy. If I had known, I’d have no reason to feel upset about not getting a traditional picture.”
“I love my son. All the positive comments really warmed my heart. They opened my eyes to see that everything doesn’t need to be cookie cutter. Being yourself is even more amazing! Drew sends his love and says thanks again for the love!”
Way to go with the flow, mama! If there’s one thing we know about raising kids it’s that you should always expect the unexpected! The more we can learn to laugh at situations like these, the better off we’ll be. The world can always use more humor! Please share this story to spread the laughter just a little bit further.
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