Hanging on for Dear Life: A Riotous Family Photo Shoot

Yesterday afternoon we went to a local park with our 8 kids, as we do every week. Some swam; others went to the fruit grove to pick mangos; I played a riotous game of volleyball with several of our older kids; Darwin zipped back and forth on the monkey bars. After everyone was either really wet or sweaty — and not by any means in their nice ‘photo attire’ — it occurred to me to organize an impromptu family photo. It had, after all, been months since the last time we took a photo of all 8 together, so I called everyone over and began explaining what was going to happen: everyone was going to hang from the monkey bars while I snapped a couple photos. It sounded easy enough.

As everyone started swinging into place, we started realizing that the photo I had in mind was a lot easier said than done! The hard part was that once the first ones got into hanging position, they had to wait for the others — some of which are not exactly lightning fast — to climb up and make their way across the bars as well. Before we knew it, everyone was slipping and falling from the bars because they couldn’t wait long enough for everyone else!

Poor Gaby and Josue! They were the first to get in hanging position, and they ended up staying there several minutes while everyone else climbed up and across the bars! Darwin had to come in for emergency monkey support!

Oh no! Jason (green shirt, red shorts) just fell! Now everybody else has to wait for him to get back up again, which is no short process! Hang in there! (No pun intended…)

Somebody suggested that they bring in stools to help expedite the process, so everyone began frantically bringing over carved tree trunks to stand on so that they could grab the bars faster. Gaby and Josue (left) kept hanging on for dear life! Hurry up, everybody! Where’s Jackeline?!

Finally we got a good shot (even though Jackeline and Gleny are technically cheating — their feet are on the stumps!). This one’s going in the family photo album!

On our park outing, we had a young family friend along with us who sat nearby just watching the whole photo-taking craziness. As I glanced over at him and smiled several times — our kids all laughing hysterically and crying out in pain — I felt that he did not know whether he should laugh or feel embarrassed to be associated with us in public. Our dear friend is from a very small, subdued family; we’re accustomed to turning heads just about everywhere we go!

The first shot was over, and everyone’s hands hurt! Look at those beautiful faces!

Everybody cried out, “That’s it, right, Mom? Can we go now?!”

My too-perky response, which was received with groans: “No! Everybody get back up there; we’re gonna take a few more photos! Let’s go, team! Up and at ’em!”

Round two! Get in there, Jackeline!

Their faces are priceless! Aren’t they just too cute? (Hey! Jason isn’t even hanging from the bars…) This must have been the most painful photo shoot they had ever attended!

Red alert! Josue’s grip gave way after several minutes clinging to the bar! Good thing Darwin was close to make sure everything was okay…

One last shot, everyone! Darwin, hop in there!

Do not fear, kids! No more monkey bar shots; now we’re headed to the teeter totter for the last part of Mom’s crazy photo shoot! Everybody grab a sibling!

They were certainly relieved when we told them that we had successfully finished taking our wild series of family photos! Several collapsed on the ground dramatically in response to the rigorous process…

Amen! We praise and thank God for the beautiful family He is forming among us. He certainly is Father to the fatherless; He sets the lonely in families…

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