A Photo is Just a Snapshot in Time

Family 10

I’ve found that someone can find fault in every photo. A paper plate, a ponytail, a pacifier, a child’s smile or weight. A women’s eyebrows or the paleness of a man’s skin.

Dirty countertops and car seats, babies running around shoeless, and the amount of time a child spends on an iPad. Even a double chin or a cookie.

I could keep going. A pacifier. A runny nose. Makeup. A diagnosis. Discipline. The amount of time a mother holds her baby. The length of time she breastfeeds.

So much so that I get a quick wave of nerves before I post any photo. I scan everything in it, looking for contraband, or a fault that some judgmental soul could point out.

And sometimes I don’t worry. I post bravely.

Like when I shared a video of me yesterday at a conference. Rested. Dressed up fancy. Makeup and hair done. The comment this morning from Kathy reading…‘stop with the makeup already. You are unrecognizable.’


People don’t understand that a photo is just a snapshot in time. A mere microsecond. That a helmet was removed because the bike was parked, a car seat strap loosened because the car ride was long over.

Or that a child struggles to smile because of a condition called Apraxia. And that for years he didn’t smile at all. Because his mouth simply was unable too. So when a smile looks forced and fake, it’s because he is trying that hard to move his muscles. And this mother thinks it’s absolutely perfect.

Or that the older middle brother may be busy playing and miss the photo because his umbilical cord reaches much farther than his older brothers. He is busy building a Lego castle and doesn’t need his mom in his sight constantly. He has friends and a bike to jump. And it’s A-OK that he isn’t in every photo.

Or that the older brother doesn’t want to do videos that much anymore. Because he is a tween. And that in no way means I am hiding severe autism.

Or that the measure of a mother’s love is not how many photos are posted on Facebook. Yes, people count.

Some days it takes the fun out of it. But some days, it produces an amazing amount of outtakes, which typically become my favorite.

We had fun today taking these on Easter. We laughed and smiled and hugged and tickled.

Dang these kids are cute. And perfectly imperfect. Just the way I want them to be.

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. Follow us on FacebookInstagram, and join our supporter page, Coop’s Troops, for an amazing community full of support and understanding


Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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