“Mom, do we have to match in the family pictures every year?”

Contributing Writer: LaQuenta Wooten

Yes…I pretty much mandate it. Well, I guess its more like beg and bribe them. Every year, I have all the Wooten men to wear the same color so that we can all match in our annual family photo. Why, you ask? Because its nearly a 10 year tradition now and it shall not be broken. So, what happens on the day that one of my sons wants to be a little different? Eeeeeek. I sadly admit and I fear that this moment will break my heart. I have prayed and tried so hard to bring unity and build a spirit of “together-ness” (is this a word?)… in our home.laQuenta 020

I often used to dress them in similar colors not only in the annual family pics but throughout the year, especially on Sundays when we go to church. As I reflect on the reason I did/do this I realize that its more than trying to make them/us look the same (and find them easily in a large crowd. I mean, why else would I go through the ridiculous hassle of rummaging in racks of clothes trying to find matching clothes in various sizes??) Well, It’s about unity.But the external “matching” look is not nearly as important as the inward feeling as one unified family -or- the outward actions of love that we should display to someone who bears the same last name.

We are a blended family and I am thankful that things are pretty normal and calm,  this was not an easy situation. Though my sons are technically “half-brothers”, I have done my best to  define our purpose as family and promote and instill a genuine sense of brotherhood. As a result, they often will get in trouble together (because no one will be the snitch) or I’ll catch them arguing over who should get the last muffin, juice box, serving of yogurt parfait when each one wants the other person to have the last tasty food treat…and then I have to come split everything in half (its so precious and cute). They love each other tremendously.

Perhaps this is what the matching colors really represents. Our unity and our connection.  Isn’t this the same reason sports teams do dress in uniforms of the same color?  From my perspective, they want to be identified as one. And this is what I really desire for us…to be one family. That each family member’s heart clothed with love, linked with the same purpose of service and a positive attitude to selflessly live and let the world see God’s beautiful spectrum of color. Forget how I try to dress us up, I hope that love is what’s really seen shining from within us.

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