This adorable little guy is Dawson, and he is the youngest son of my friends, Audrey and David.
The photo below is of Dawson’s parents and siblings as they eagerly awaited his arrival. He’s in the photo, too, you just can’t see him. ;)
It was a lot of fun photographing Dawson’s family the first time as they are a fun and busy bunch! Audrey wanted photos that chronicled her family and pregnancy just before they added the baby. Several weeks after this photo above was taken, Dawson arrived. :)
Things progressed normally as they do with a baby which includes all of the joyful exhaustion and fatigue that they bring with them. When Dawson was almost 4 months old, he came down with RSV and was treated overnight in the hospital. His parents were very grateful that it was mild compared to what could have been.
Then, just a little over a week later, a bad cold made it’s rounds through his family. As it happens with large families, they stick around for a while. Dawson came down with a fever on a Monday. His parents had been in touch with the advice nurse and were monitoring him closely due to his recent health history. Several days later his parents noticed Dawson having what appeared to be seizures in his face and an arm. They called the hospital stating their intentions to drive him in. The hospital said no, they were sending an ambulance and he was rushed to the nearest Emergency Room. David and Audrey are convinced that the ER doctor saved Dawson’s life by suspecting and then following the protocol for meningitis without hesitation. Dawson spent about eight days in the hospital. I visited Dawson while he was hospitalized and gifted his parents some prints from our previous family session. Audrey immediately attached photos to his crib so he could see his siblings. I could tell she enjoyed them as well as she’d been unable to see her other children for almost a week. Once Dawson was released from the hospital he received antibiotics through an IV at home for a while and was on antibiotics a for about 6 weeks. If not for the gift of medical intervention and attentive parents, this could have been the recent sibling photo:
Instead, I rejoice with my friends that the one below is, with sweet Dawson included!
I was so happy to celebrate their family and their great blessing! This is their favorite family photo from the session.
Here is another photo of Dawson…because one can never have too much cuteness in their lives. :)
Life often catches us by surprise, as it did my friends, and the surprises aren’t always pleasant. Of my friends, Dawson’s family is the third one that has had a serious medical crisis strike a child in the last four years, two of which very nearly lost their precious children. It is sobering how quickly life can change, even by the hour.
These stories that I have lived alongside my friends only serve to strengthen my view of the importance of documenting our most precious memories and relationships.
Many times I hear parents say “Oh, I just want photos of the kids, I don’t need to be in them.” I am convinced that by saying that, they have not yet realized that the photos are even more important for their children’s sense of time and history and their place within it, than they are for the family Christmas card.
We never know when a day may yield us an unwelcome vacancy at our dinner table.
Please, celebrate your family now and make regular photos a priority. To the family documentarians out there, hand that camera over to others on a regular basis, or make a commitment to get professional family photography done, so that you are also included in your family’s history- it’s one the best gifts you can give your children. You are their parent, they know what you look like and love you anyways regardless of the extra 20 lbs or any other imperfection you feel you may have.
Children don’t see our perceived imperfections, they just see love.