I am constantly amazed and humbled by the lengths to which people will go to help keep Dakin safe and enable him to do things other kids do. For the second year, the Longview Mall has done this for us in regards to taking Santa pictures. Encouraged by their kindness last year, we contacted them to do pictures this year, and they literally bent over backwards for us. They opened a half hour early for us so we would be first, they sanitized the set, and made sure Santa had a freshly dry-cleaned outfit. Of course, they let us Lysol the chair and Santa himself as well, to be on the safe side. My contact at the mall assured me she wanted to do everything she could to make it a perfect experience for us, and it was.
This gentleman has been our Santa now for two Christmases, and he is wonderful--soft-spoken and gentle with Dakin. Dakin took right to him, which was mildly worried about since he's got some stranger anxiety at the moment (too many shots). Anyway, you see the result above.
I wish I could express to people how much small acts of kindness like this mean to us. I can't. There are no words. Just thinking on this experience and the preparations the mall made for it is bringing tears to my eyes. It would be lying to say that being a special-needs parent is easy--it's not. It's hard, every second of every day. Experiences like this, though, make it better. Helps to carry the burden a little. Thanks, Longview Mall and Santa! We will see you next year!