The Picture that Always Makes me Laugh

At first, I thought I would be answering WordPress’s prompt “are you stressed?” because I was getting stressed out that I could not find this photo, this one photo that always makes me laugh.

This photo, taken in the spring of 2004, is nowhere on my hard drive, or my backup drive. My mother must have developed it from her camera and sent me a copy in the mail, the old-fashioned way. I dug it out of a photo box and scanned it into my computer so I can show it to you here.

My family was visiting our extended family in New York City for Passover. The kids’ school break fell out the same time as Passover so we had the whole week to play in New York City.

In this photo, we were coming home from a long day waiting in lines to get on and off the Circle Line as we visited Liberty and Ellis Island.  At this point, we were heading back to Staten Island, waiting in the makeshift temporary Staten Island Ferry terminal for the 5:30 boat. You see, Staten Islanders don’t call it “the ferry,” we call it “the boat.” And on this day, the 5:30 boat was a no-show. Neither was the 5:45 boat.

The tiny terminal was getting very crowded with commuters and tourists. And there were very few seats in the temporary terminal. My kids, and everyone around them, were getting very tired and cranky. They had not eaten since our lunchtime picnic on Ellis Island, and how much can you entice cranky kids with Matzah, jelly and hard boiled eggs?

 At that point, for some reason, my mother just had to take a picture of her grandchildren. So there we are: My dad, Coach Bernie Cooper, in his full glory wearing his Tottenville HS Wrestling jacket staring into the distance; me, holding 7-month Toby, who was sick of being held in someone’s arms or pushed in the stroller in an attempt to escape and crawl around; Nathan, peeking out from his newly acquired Statue of Liberty magazine, in spite of my mom’s pleas to put down the magazine and show his whole face; and Jolie, who also looks like she is trying to run off.

I guess I love this picture because it is so in the moment. It is not the ideal photo of what you would think of as the snapshot of the family outing to the Statue of Liberty. It is perfect, though , because it captures the reality of the chaos of daily life with three kids: everyone is looking in different directions, doing their own thing, and having an absolute ball doing it.

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About stacylynngittleman

I have been a reporter and public relations professional for over 30 years, specializing in profile features and investigative longform writing. During my career I've profiled WWII Honor Flight Veterans, artists and musicians and have written on topics that range from environmental and gun control issues to Jewish culture. Click around on my writing samples plus read my blog on my personal life raising three kids over 27 years and three cities.

3 responses to “The Picture that Always Makes me Laugh”

  1. timkeen40 says :

    My oldest baby is twenty-five now. The middle one is a senior in high school. My youngest baby is ten going on being the mother of my grandkids. It all happens so fast! After a post like this, I can not honestly say I want the chaos back, but I do miss it. It was a fun time. Sometimes I was just too caught up in the chaos it to realize it.


  2. carlaat says :

    Thanks for sharing the story. Made me smile too!


  3. Mom says :

    I remember the chaos,the exhausted family,and my never ending attempt to get just one more picture of my family.If you notice,you are the only one that is looking at the camera.Was it a smile,or was it a look of”please mom,HELP”.I love the memories as I love you


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