All I Want For Christmas Is My Child To Smile In A Photo

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“The holidays bring up a lot of emotions, and the grief sometimes hits you at the most unexpected times.

Wilson had a good day.

I saw one purposeful smile and captured a dreaming smile.

I’m scrolling through social media when all of a sudden, I’m crying.

In my scrolling, I see so many beautiful family pictures — with Santa; outside, in a decorated truck; in pajamas…

And then one just hits me like a log truck.

The sitting baby, looking at Santa.

The baby younger than Wilson holding a toy.

The baby is much younger than Wilson, and smiling.

And it shattered my heart.

Tears filled my eyes.

I love seeing these friends’ families, I truly do.

But I close my eyes and try to insert Wilson in the setting of that picture.

I see a stressful scenario where my screaming, arching, uncomfortable child terrorizes a Santa.

Santa’s are used to tantrums and stranger-hesitant, upset children. But how does a Santa handle a child’s inconsolable tears stemming from lots of neurological and GI discomfort?

I see tons of spit-up ruining the setup.

I see my tall, non-toddling toddler being held awkwardly or propped up, while I wait for a seizure to show its ugly head.

I’ve always loved photos and imagined having so many pictures of my son (and I do have a ton), but I imagined them differently.

I imagined smiles, and I don’t have many of those pictures.

I imagined him showing me his favorite toys, not staring at beads that I think he likes.

I imagined photos making and eating cookies, not receiving tube feeds.

I imagined a photo of my son smiling while sitting on Santa’s lap at 18 months, not propped up on a pillow with a blank expression.

We did manage to get a few good Christmas pictures of Wilson.

But, they just weren’t what I was expecting.

I say it all the time — all I want is for Wilson to be happy.

And I want photos that show off his smile…

But we’re not in that place, and sometimes that pain really really hurts.”

little boy laying down on a bean bag chair in front of the fire for comfort
Courtesy of Heather

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