When mom Angela Pickett received her son’s school photos recently, her excitement was quickly replaced by confusion.
As she looked at the photo of one of her boys she found herself wondering whether he’d in fact had all his teeth when it was taken.
“In the world of a primary school Mum, and one whose term two started with both kids down with chicken pox in week one, photo day in term one seemed a lifetime ago,” Pickett, of Adelaide, Australia, wrote on her blog, Words by Ange.
“But then I looked at the family photo and his class photo — and there he was. Gappy McGapster (as he currently calls himself) in all his glory. His mouth had been photo-shopped with what looked like last year’s baby teeth swapped in.”
Pickett goes on to explain that the issue of body image hadn’t really cropped up with her two boys before now, and her son, 8, wasn’t at all embarrassed by his missing teeth.
She even shares an image of her own “buck-toothed” class photo, hoping that her children will one day look back on their old photos and see how much they’ve changed.
“But instead of getting angry, I shared my bafflement and quietly sent a pretty measured message to the company,” she wrote. “The photo company involved [has] been really honest. The staff member who swapped in his ‘2016 mouth’ now realizes it was an error of judgement.”
Of her exchange with the company, which she does not name, Pickett adds, “There was no excuse made which made me think this was not the norm and so I was happy to leave it at that (who knows why someone thought it was a good idea). I let the school know (and had a chat with the completely flabbergasted principal).”
She goes on: “I am glad I called them on it and while I heard a few similar stories from others, I feel pretty confident it’s not the norm and best of all, there didn’t seem to be anyone out there agreeing that this was a good idea. But had I not said anything, who is to say it wouldn’t become the norm? It was also important for our son to know we love him as he looks now. Accepting the photo-shopped photo says to him that we think there is something wrong with how he looks.
“Our kids are growing up with so much technology that for them that perhaps we do have to remind them (and ourselves) of the importance of imperfect authentic photos and memories — gappy teeth and all!”
If there’s a lesson in this, it’s this: Love who you are, and cherish the memories.
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