The iPhone Photo Taken by a Stranger

There are a million reasons I should could delete this picture from my iPhone.
My hair looks whack (I barely had time to spray in some dry shampoo). And my thighs? HELLO. Also I'm pretty sure Kendra is in meltdown mode because I took her sippy cup after she kept chucking it onto the sidewalk. And Olivia? Don't mind her. She's just staring down a goose we passed to make sure it's not coming after her package of strawberry fruit snacks.

But I love this picture.

I love it because it's real. It's not posed. And it's an accurate representation of what life looks like for us.

It's not perfect, but it's us. 

And it was taken by a stranger.

It was a typical afternoon pushing 45-pounds of toddlers in a double-stroller with a 7-pound baby snuggled comfortably in my Solly wrap.

Except this day, I squatted in the middle of the bike trail to take a selfie. 

You see, during the week while my husband is at work, I'll occasionally text him a selfie of us [half joking but sometimes kinda serious] with a caption, "Still alive," or, "Send wine." He knows that while this whole three-kids-under-three is a fun gig, it's also exhausting and challenging and demanding. 

This selfie-snapping was different though because as I bent down to take it, there was a woman jogging in the distance. 

When she passed me on the trail, she slowed down. Then she stopped and turned around. 

"Do you want me to take your picture?" she asked as she caught her breath. 

She had seen my rather pathetic attempts at a selfie just moments earlier. 

"Sure!"  I gave her my iPhone, and she snapped a photo. 

And just like that, she was gone, pounding the pavement in her sneakers until the only reminder I had of her was this candid photo of me with my three daughters.
As I pushed the stroller toward home and refereed a toddler debate about what animals Old MacDonald saw first on his farm, I smiled.

I smiled because this is my life. 

These moments along the bike trail may not be glamorous. They may not be pretty or posed or even planned out.

But to me, these unfiltered, real moments are the ones that matter most.

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