It’s all about the photos | Living with Gleigh

My youngest daughter went to Comicon this weekend in Seattle.

For those who don’t know, Comicon is a convention held every year celebrating the world’s cartoon characters. It’s a very popular event for young and old, spanning every cartoon and pop culture icon (think Star Trek, Sherlock, The Hobbit) ever viewed on TV, movies and in comic books.

My daughter went as a female Loki. Loki is a male character from Marvel’s Thor comic books. With his ability to shape-shift, he spent some time as a female in one of the editions.

This costume was particularly intricate as it involved scale mail. I’m talking about individual metal scales that knights in shining armor made their suits out of. They arrived loose in a box; she then had to link them together with small metal rings. It took her months.

Her abilities to build costumes have gone way beyond my knowledge base and into some other dimension. She finds the information by Googling it, but she does have a talent for it. Maybe it’s her willingness to suffer the details of these costumes that makes her good at it. I’m a “good enough” sort of costume designer. In fact, I saw some perfectly good “scaly” fabric at JoAnn Fabrics when she began designing this costume.

In the beginning, her convention attending days, used to be all about the cartoons. She and her friends would spend hours watching them; then they’d decide who they wanted to dress as. Now, although my daughter is currently obsessed with the Thor movies and comics, the conventions are really about the costume.

The success of the costume is measured by how many people stop and ask for a photo. Her Loki costume was a huge success — she said she was probably stopped a hundred times. This is where I must take offense.

I think the quality of my children’s childhoods have been based on my desire to get photos of them. I create family photo albums every year and I’ve become obsessed trying to make sure I have photos for every month, which means we have to go fun places in which to take photos. I want these to be happy, willingly-obtained photos, but they aren’t always.

When they were in their tweens, my penchant for making them pose in lavender fields and cling to the side of trees wasn’t particularly welcome.

Sure, maybe making them go out in a blizzard to sit on Santa’s lap when he was just about to pack it up and head back to the North Pole because it was snowing too hard, was bit pushy of me, but my heart was in the right place.

They’ll remember that day when they look back through our family albums and see that snow-blurred picture of them in front of Santa’s shack. “Remember when mom made us go out in the teeth of the storm? Nothing was open and no one was around because of the blinding snow and Santa was just trying to get out of there before the roads got too bad.”

So why is it my kids are perfectly willing to let strangers stop them to take a picture? My youngest, being shy, is the one that astounds me the most. Granted, she has the costume to hide behind and she doesn’t actually have to talk to anyone, but she holds still for the photo op her mother could never get.

When I dropped her and her friends off in downtown Seattle in a loading zone, I asked them to stand away from the car door so I could snap a picture of them. “Hurry up mom!” my daughter exclaimed, eyes rolling at my pride.

“Stand still, look at me! I need a picture for March.”

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is committed to getting the picture whether they want her to or not. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website or on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh.”

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