Friend, Take the Picture

I posted these family pictures on my personal page recently.

On the caption, I impulsively made the statement, “I’m not sure why we waited seven years to make these happen”. 

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I said that. Because after reflecting, I know exactly why it took so long.

I didn’t take the pictures because things started out hard and I forgot how to breathe. Jackson’s stroke.

Then carefully weaning the anti-seizure meds for months.

The waiting on the next round of blood work to know if there was something more going on. The worry.

Then I didn’t take the pictures because I stopped breastfeeding when he was one and all the weight I’d lost crept back on. 

Then I didn’t take the pictures because I was too busy watching him. Working so hard with him on his fine motor skills.

Repercussions of the stroke that drastically affected his right hand. 

Then I didn’t take the pictures because his struggles started becoming apparent.

His autism was shining brightly. We awaited diagnosis. Received it. And I crumbled yet again.

But this time I lost a bit more hope and lots more of myself and any sparkle I’d once had. 

Then I didn’t take the pictures because I was absorbed in the meltdowns. The overwhelm of what life brought. The therapy. Feelings of failure.

Not having any clue how to help him.

Then I didn’t take the pictures because I finally did learn how to help him. And it consumed me.

Every once of energy. Time. Money. Strength. I felt I was lacking in every piece of my life and losing myself and my purpose more by the day.

I didn’t take the pictures because things were going well until they weren’t. 

Then I didn’t take the pictures because I knew it would be a waste of precious time and money.

We were still struggling to get any type of clothing on him other than the few sweats and t-shirts his sensory self could tolerate.

We were still navigating going out in public without being torn down by the stares that came with the inevitable behaviors. 

Then I didn’t take the pictures because I knew it would be another failure in our story.

Another thing we couldn’t do like the “normal” family could. I knew it just couldn’t happen the way I wanted it to. 

Eventually the good days came more consistently than the bad, but I still didn’t take the pictures. 

Because then I didn’t take the pictures because I felt selfish. Because I’d let myself go so drastically that I didn’t like the image of what I’d become.

The fifty pound heavier than the day I got married, mom in the mirror, with bags under my eyes, and no ounce of self-worth left to show. 

Then, one day, things started looking up. I made a career move. Learned how to sleep again.

Learned how to take autism in stride. Find the sunshine.

I sought out an amazing group of women who inspired me and helped me drop some of the pounds.

Remember my “why” and the importance of being the best me I could be for so many people that rely on me every day. 

Then one day, because of the gracious heart of some anonymous people I still don’t know how to thank, I took the pictures. 

I guess because they thought we needed them. I don’t know why they did it. I wish I did. And I’ll never be able to thank them enough because without them forcing me into accepting such a gift, I’m certain I’d still have not had the courage to take the pictures. 

I guess my point in this story is to explain my regret. I know we’re supposed to live lives with no regrets, but I’ll be the first to say I have dozens of them.

So friend, take the pictures. No matter your circumstance. Capture the memories. Bad or good.

They are part of your story and your children will want to see them one day. And they’ll appreciate them.

Teach them about what was going on in your life when the moments were captured. Talk them through the hard times and regressions and show them when their amazing presence and progress changed your life. 

And eventually, really talk to them about when times were hard. And when they were amazing. And help them see the hundreds of things they overcame. Because they’ll remember it all and need you to help them sort through it.

Don’t sweep the bad stuff under the rug. Embrace it. They’ll become more whole and more integrated because of your openness through the obstacles.

Please don’t hide it. 

That’s what I’ve tried to do. By not taking the pictures. By not being open and vulnerable through the darkest of days. And I’ve missed out on so much because of it. 

Love your life, no matter the season you’re in. Hold tight to the good and know God is working hard by your side through the bad. He is.

He’s always there for you. And so am I.

Friend, no matter what, take the pictures.

Written by, Lynn Reasons

Lynn is married to her best friend, Derek. She’s a school nurse at her son’s school and together, she and her husband raise their sweet, incredible seven year old son, Jackson. Lynn recently started blogging and you can follow her at Navigating Jackson’s Journey.

Photos courtesy of Jessica Renee Photography

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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