Owen's First Birthday

Dear Owen,

Today would have been your first birthday. I can hardly believe a whole year has past since you were born. I never knew my heart could feel as much love as it did when I met you. The day you were born was such an exciting day. We had waited so long for your arrival. You were in no rush to get here, but it was the perfect timing. I'll never forget looking into your eyes for the first time. You were here, you were perfect, and you were mine. How could I love someone so instantaneously and so passionately? I didn't want to put you down. You made the cutest noises and had the sweetest smell. Daddy and I would touch our faces to your skin just to feel how soft you were. We had such great dreams of what your life would be. 

God had different plans for your life than we did. We didn't want you to be sick. We didn't want to learn about heart defects and ventilator settings and blood gases and surgical procedures. We didn't want you to live in the hospital. We didn't want you to be hooked up to a dozen medications or be intubated or go through heart surgeries. We didn't want to not be able to hold you for weeks at a time. We didn't want you to live your life in the CICU and be poked and prodded all day every day. We didn't want you to die. Our plans were not God's plans, and that is hard.

Even though your life was not what we dreamed of, it was beautiful. You made an impact, sweet boy, and you touched so many. You lived a full life and filled my heart in a way I never could have imagined. I loved our days together looking into each others' eyes and holding hands. You had such an old soul. It was like you knew exactly what was happening and were telling me it would all be okay. I loved our time reading together and listening to music. I love that you were known as the cute baby on the floor. I loved that nurses fought over you and wanted to take care of you. I loved whispering to you and talking to you. I told you how popular you were and that you had so many friends who couldn't wait to meet you. I told you about the things we would do together when we would bring you home. I told you all about your nursery that was at home waiting for you. I told you that I would never put you down. I never would have put you down. 

Oh, how I wish you were here and that we were throwing a big birthday party! Today was still a celebration! Your friends and family donated hundreds of blankets and books and in your honor. We were able to give them to the families in the CICU, hoping they would bring them some joy. We collected more than we ever dreamed we would, and it was all for you. We made cupcakes and passed them out to some of your biggest fans. You have brought so many people together. Everyone was celebrating you today! Your life is huge, and it is powerful. It is a story of hope and a reminder that we are not made for this world. We are made to live in heaven for eternity at the feet of Jesus. You are already there, and I can't wait to join you. Thank you for giving me that gift! A perspective I may never have had if I had not had you as my son. I loved celebrating you today. My heart is filled with so much love for you. I just love you, Owen. I miss you so, so very much. Happy first birthday, baby boy! 



For two months we collected, sorted through, and packaged all of the beautiful blankets and books we received for the book and blanket drive! It was so nice for me to be able to devote energy to this project since I couldn't plan a first birthday party for Owen. I loved putting blankets together, matching them with books, and packaging them beautifully.

 This is the note that was included in each package.

To everyone who was a part of this project, thank you!! We were blown away with all of the support we received with this project It wouldn't have been successful without you. We collected over 600 blankets and over 400 books. It was the perfect way to celebrate Owen today, and as much of a gift to us as it will be to the CICU families. With the help of family and friends, we delivered these bags to Egleston today on Owen's birthday.

The hospital staff was overwhelmed with joy and so touched with these gifts. They estimate that we have around a six month supply. Amazing

 We dropped off cupcakes too!

To all of the CICU staff, thank you for celebrating Owen with us today. Thank you for being so excited about he books and blankets and cupcakes. It was good for my heart. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to talk to us and ask how we're doing. Thank you for remembering Owen with us. Not many people had the privilege of meeting him, but you did. Because of that, you are so dear to us, and we feel a connection with you that we don't feel with anyone else. Thank you for loving Owen and for taking such great care of him. Thank you for supporting us as parents and loving us so well. You may not think of Owen's story as a success story, but we do. You are all angels for doing what you do. 

I love this picture. It was talking with some of the staff in the lobby, and one of the nurses pointed and said, "Look at them celebrating Owen!" Brings tears to my eyes.

We ended the night releasing balloons to heaven with some close friends. It was the perfect ending to a special day.

Today we felt so much love, support, and peace. It was the best way we could have possibly spent Owen's birthday. Thank you so much to everyone who continues to shower us in prayers. It means so much.


  1. What a beautiful letter to your sweet baby son! And all of the work that went in to making today possible is such a reflection of your hearts as parents. I'm so thankful that today was full of love and blessings for Owen and others. My heart is full.

  2. Thank you both for letting us be a part of Owen's celebration. I wish we could do more!

  3. Happy Birthday, Sweet Owen. We are thinking of you all. Eileen Smith

  4. You are such a beautiful person, inside and out. Owen's light continues to shine on this world. Happy Birthday, beautiful boy.

  5. Wow - I have tears in my eyes reading this. You are such an inspiration and that is a beautiful letter. This is SUCH a wonderful way to honor your Owen! What you've done for the NICU and those parents is truly wonderful. Please keep us informed if there is anything else we can contribute to in the future. :)

  6. You saw that your sister (Gina?) did a RAK and it ended up in Jen Hatmaker's book at a library. And then (by the power of social media) in Jen Hatmaker's hands, right? If not..... Go like her page on FB and touch base with her! She's asking to hear Owen's story! (You don't know me from Adam. I just hunted the IG hashtag and found you, and wanted to let you know!!')

  7. Continued prayers for peace and joy. And that you feel God's presence. Ditto 👆

  8. You are an incredible inspiration and I am blown away, in tears, reading your beautiful words. Happy birthday to your sweet baby, Owen. I bet he is beaming with pride looking down on mommy and daddy bringing such joy to these families. It is truly awe-inspiring to see what a HUGE impact this beautiful baby boy brought to the world in his short life. I am printing your random acts of kindness card now- thank you so much for having the strength, perseverance and grace to turn such pain into an inspiration for us to bless others. xo

  9. I found your sweet blog today through Jen Hatmaker's Instagram. My dear friend lost her baby today during childbirth. And they are hopeful that her death can bring glory to Christ. I can see how your random acts of kindness in Owen's name are glorifying our Savior. When the time is right, I will pass your blog onto her.