52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with the Yearly Family Photos

52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with the Family Photos

52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with the Family Photos

I meant to take our annual family portraits, including pictures of the boys individually and together, earlier in the month. But earlier in the month ran away with the rain, wind, and general fall malaise. And then any time the sun decided to shine in the evening, someone was at work or traveling or at practice or grounded for life, and no one wants to look at a picture hanging on the wall when one of the kids was currently grounded for life.

Or, maybe we do want to look at that. Maybe it would be a great lesson. “Remember that time you were grounded for life and mom took our yearly family photo and now it hangs on the wall forever as a reminder of NOT TO DO THAT EVER AGAIN?” Awesome parenting technique right there. Feel free to use it.

Whatever the case, last week we all happened to be home on evening when the sun shone just perfectly, the trees still clung to their leaves, and nary a child was grounded for life. I instructed everyone to dress in the clothes I laid out, busied myself getting picture-ready, and set up the tripod outside.


The family picture was the easiest. Getting a picture of the two boys together remains the most difficult, because they like to joke around and stick their tongues out or make fart jokes or laugh or cross their eyes (LITTLEBROTHER, OMG QUIT THAT) or generally be… kids. You know. Kids. Brothers. Little human beings who like to laugh and make fart jokes and generally be awesome. While I tolerate the fart jokes to a point (NOT AT THE TABLE, OMG), I just wanted to get the pictures taken before the sun dipped too low and we lost the beautiful golden light.

It worked. I don’t know how. I don’t remember what I threatened them with, but I got a series of pictures of them together and separately. They will hang on the wall as a reminder of the time that nobody was grounded for life and mom didn’t even scream at anyone during family pictures.

52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with the Family Photos



Fitbit Flex Activity + Sleep Wristband

Bread and Butter

Bread + Butter Wine

I remember walking, holding hands with Papau, my paternal grandfather. We came to a pole, split hands, and he yelled, “Bread and butter!” Then he took my hand again, a smile on his face. He did this with me through my entire life, as did my Grandmother. I never questioned it. We would hold hands, come across a pole, and “bread and butter” it.

I didn’t know what it meant; it meant everything.

— __ — __ —

“Dad, what did ‘bread and butter’ mean?”

We were down at Grandma’s house. My dad and brother worked hard, hauling things out of the garage and onto the trailer bed. I had just given up a search for the Halloween ghost that used to haunt her end table each October; it’s gone, a memory now.

He looked up at me. I watched the memory wash across his face, the ghost that flitted through his eyes different than the one I could not find.

“I don’t know.” We all went back to working, the realization that they were gone and couldn’t tell us weighing heavy on our souls.

__ — __ — __

Walking down the street last week, I held hands with LittleBrother. We came across a pole. I let go of his hand.

“Bread and butter!”

I grabbed his hand again, smiling down at him.

“What’s that mean?”


“I don’t know, buddy. Big Papau and Big Mamaw used to say it with me when I held hands with them. But I don’t know the story.”

“Oh. Okay,” he sighed, the disappointment evident in his tone.

— __ — __ —

Recently, I found a Bread + Butter Pinot Noir.

Bread + Butter Wine

Inspired by a glass of wine, I decided to Google “bread and butter.” I had assumed for three decades that the “bread and butter” thing was our thing, but someone convinced me that maybe it was a thing. I googled “bread and butter” and “pole,” and what do you know: It’s a thing!

Apparently it’s an old superstition. Basically, when two people come to an obstacle, they both have to say bread and butter to get rid of the bad luck of letting something come between the two people. If they don’t both say it, a bitter fight is expected to occur.

The concept comes from the idea that buttered bread cannot be “unbuttered.” Therefore, just because this obstacle separates the two of us, we cannot be separated for good.

I cried when I read that Wikipedia entry and missed my Grandparents so much my whole being ached.

I will continue to carry on this tradition with my children, but I will make sure they understand the meaning now. I will make sure they know that nothing can come between us; my bread cannot be unbuttered, that my love cannot be unloved.

Thanks, Grandma and Papau.