Look who is a smiling SIX year old?? Nope, not the cardboard self-portrait of Mrs. Butley (though look at those lips!). It's OWEN!
Who knew he'd still have the baby cheeks at 5 years after this?
Reflecting on our life as parents and on Owen's personality (a WHOLE 'nother post in itself), I well up with gratitude at the network of support we have. There have been many days where I felt like we were going at this alone, but I was SO wrong. For every moment of Owen's existence, he has been surrounded.
To our friends in Pasadena who helped us to welcome him home from the hospital, thank you for being there for us in our first years as parents. (yes, Joe was our only "family" at the hospital until my mom arrived. Hysterically funny to me now that he and Michael were my only support team and I was happy as a clam!)
My teacher friends, our seminary community, our relatives, and our church family all encouraged us and loved on Mr. Owen since day 1. So many of you are still an integral part of our lives that I kick myself when I doubt God's future provision for us...look at what we have been given thus far! To my knees with gratitude!
To our family in Texas who rejoiced as the moving van and little blue car pulled in the driveway with the 3 of us (plus Joe), we love you! Through toddler tantrums and potty training, the relatives got introduced to daily life with Owen at such a crazy age. And even still, they cried tears as we loaded up the truck again.
To our friends in Fresno who welcomed us, thank you for jumping in to our lives in what could have been such an isolated adventure. Our neighbors at the apartments, Miss Nazeli, our coworkers, our friends at church, Bert and Rae (via LA road trips) and our dear Peter and Jen...we look back with nothing but fondness for each relationship we made in Fresno. Owen remembers Fresno for the sun, the pool, and our friends. They are some of his first articulated memories, and for that reason, Fresno will forever be a part of our family.
And now back "home"...another cross-country trip in a moving van and little blue car with 2 kids (and Joe)! Owen is now spoiled by grandparents, worn out by cousins, entertained by small group couples, nurtured by teachers, adored by a sister, and loved by neighbors and school friends.
So, if you're reading this and you love him half as much as I do, THANK YOU for helping us to surround and polish this little gem we were given 6 years ago.
To the Lord: your word says that you "surround me with songs of deliverance" and that for those who trust in you, your "lovingkindness will surround him." May Owen never walk alone!
Happy Birthday to my favorite 6 year old!
For those of you who can't remember what Mrs. Butley really looks like: