Every parent of a school-age kid knows the sight of a white paper envelope sticking up out of a backpack with the shiny plastic window on the front is fraught with mixed emotions. School photos are here! But what will your child's school photo bring? Will you pull out the envelope and be pleasantly surprised at how the photographer perfectly captured your child's smile and the twinkle in their eyes?
... or, will you find something more like this?
"Thanks for the laugh, School Photographer," said writer Mia Carella when she saw her now 8-year-old daughter Evalyn's photo last year. "Thank goodness for digital cameras, am I right?"
Virginia dad Brandon Thorn posted this picture of his son Alexander, now 10, in the Facebook group Remarkably Average Parents. "Here is Alex fresh off what appears to have been a 3-day bender," he wrote.
Tamara Reese's daughter Campbell wanted to do a "thumbs up!" pose for her preschool graduation photos, she explained to her mother.
"Nailed it!" Reese laughed when she later posted it on Facebook.
"Hey, ladies," joked Palm Beach mom Melissa Mau Smith of her son Zachary's slightly awkward school photo.
But though it might not be a glamour shot, Smith said the photo has its charms. "It does make me smile," she said.
Mom of four Kristii Farrell feels the same way about a past school photo of her now eighth grade son Kian. "It's my fave," she told TODAY Parents.
And how could it not be? Maybe in the day and age of digital cameras, this is exactly what we parents should hope for from school photos: a snapshot of our perfectly imperfect children in the midst of their school days, rumpled, stained, not at all polished, and just our awkward works-in-progress being their genuine and authentic selves.
When it's so easy to hit a button and delete a "bad" photo, these are the true priceless treasures.