James O’Leary of Sonoma County, California, was named after his grandfather, Jim Simpson.
Jim has formed a tight bond with the adorable little boy, who has Down syndrome. After all, the two of them have a lot more than their name in common; they also share matching scars from open-heart surgery.
Larkin O’Leary, James’ mom, is the president and founder of Common Ground Society, a nonprofit that aims “to educate and empower our community to be more compassionate, accepting, and inclusive of people with disabilities.” She was inspired to start the foundation after watching her son undergo 28 surgeries in the first few years of his life.
One of those surgeries left a long vertical scar in the middle of James’ chest, mirroring the one on his grandpa. Not only did the sweet pair have the exact same procedure, but they also had it done on the same day, eight years apart.
Photographer Lindsey Tatum captured a powerful series of photos of James and Jim a few years ago. To celebrate how far the two of them have come since then, Larkin recently shared the pictures on Common Ground Society’s Facebook page.
“These photos mean so much to me for a few important reasons,” Larkin explained. “First, because there was a point in time when I didn’t know if my dad or son would live. They are photos of survival and strength. These photos also capture the indescribable bond my father and son have.”
Lindsey couldn’t agree more! “James and his grandfather have an undeniable bond and their love for each other is palpable,” she said. “His eyes light up when he sees his grandpa.”
These images are moving for so many reasons, and Larkin will treasure them forever.
“The photos are also important because they capture the beginning of the roller coaster of a life we now have,” the mom added. “Both my son and dad have taught me just how precious life truly is.”
These photos are absolutely adorable, and they have such a special meaning behind them! We hope they continue to document their relationship as James gets bigger and bigger.
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