Hazel had her first trip to Georgia for Owen's birthday weekend! So many people couldn't wait to meet her. It was a whirlwind trip, but so great to see family and friends. She did great in the car on the way there!
I didn't get pictures of everyone we saw, but tried my best! She got to meet my dear friends Anne and Krissy!
She also got to meet Owen's night nurse, Ashely! It was so good seeing her again and fun to reminisce about our times in the CICU... This is the nurse who kept track of Owen's urinary output every hour throughout the night so that Brian could record it on owenspee.com. I'm pretty sure we are the only parents she has had who have made such a strange request. She gladly did it with a smile.
It was a little tricky to get a picture of all of them. This is the best I got.
We stopped by Hull and Northbrook to see some of my old coworker friends! I wish we could have seen everyone! It was so fun walking her through the halls and seeing some dear friends. I miss working at this school so much! They were all so supportive when Owen was sick and continue to be a great support. Love these people.
We then got together with some old college friends and their children! Margot had her three kids, and Julie and her two. They made time for us in their busy days, and I am so thankful! It had been too long!
Levi and Hazel are just a few weeks apart!
After that we drove down to Decatur and stopped to spend the night with the Ribes. Two years ago, this family opened up their home to us (strangers) for as long an indefinite period of time. They live five minutes from Egleston (and next door to one of Owen's cardiologists!), so we were able to be close to Owen at night while we slept. We stayed with them for six weeks. Kelly, Paul and their sons Griffin and Owen (yes, they have an Owen too!) have become some of our dearest friends. They really feel like family now. I always hoped to bring Owen to their house, so it really felt like a dream come true to bring Hazel.
Then we were off to Cakes & Ale for Owen's birthday lunch with some of his favorite nurses! Meredith, Susie, Danielle, and Amanda got to meet our sweet girl and celebrate her big brother. It was so special to see them meet and love on our little girl.
I am so thankful that we can laugh and celebrate. I wasn't sure it would ever be possible after we lost Owen almost two years ago. Of course there are still hard and painful days, but God really has sustained us and given us the grace we need to not only just get through these "harder" days, but enjoy them and celebrate. I hope this gives others who are newer in this grief journey hope.
Then it was time to head over to Egleston for the big book & blanket drop off! The most important part of the trip! Thanks to all of you, we had over 500 blankets and over 300 books donated this year! They filled up two SUVs!
Since the hospital doesn't have enough room to store everything, our wonderful nurses Amanda and Meredith are gracious enough to store them in their homes and bring them to work to replenish as needed.
I may never get around to writing thank you notes to everyone who donated, (and many of you sent anonymous packages through amazon!) but please know how truly grateful we are for your contributions. As a former parent of a child in the Cardiac ICU, I can honestly say how much they will mean to these families. To know that someone is thinking of you and your child means more than you know when you are faced with the most impossible situation and you are filled with anxiety and fear. These packages will spread love deeper and wider than we will ever know. Thank you for making this such a success again this year.
We were able to see a few of Owen's old nurses in the unit! We were especially excited to see Uno, our favorite therapy dog!
Hazel wasn't in the best of moods (poor thing had hit her limit!), so we didn't stick around too long, but it really was great to be back and show Hazel where her brother lived. I hope that we will be able to come back here for many more of Owen's birthdays.