January 6th, up until last year, always had a lot of pain associated with it. It’s unbelievable to think that it has been twelve years ago today since we lost Baylee’s dad, Drew Reynolds. Both mine and Baylee’s parents had each of us in their early twenties, and from the time we were two and three we were always bouncing between each others houses while the other sets of parents worked. Baylee’s parents Drew and Lore, always treated me like family, and Drew was like a second father to me growing up. He was incredibly goofy, kind, and loving. Our parents not only babysat for each other, but were close friends. They worked together over the years, played soccer, went on vacations, and spent a large part of their free time together as well. After he passed away someone in the town I grew up in even made bumper stickers that said, “Make a Drew Decision”. It seemed as though we all knew that he made decisions in life from the heart and that we should all do the same from time to time. While it was emotionally difficult to deal with his death at 14, it was and is so much more painful to see Baylee, Blake and Lore go through it all. It’s hard for me not to recount the day he passed away each year as we approach January, and while I can’t imagine being in a place where I could ever forget the way my heart ached and my stomach dropped the day we heard the news, I am grateful that we can now look at this day as the day our little boy’s life began. Today marks a year that I woke up early like a kid on Christmas, took a home pregnancy test, and found out that Zack and I would be expecting our first baby. We had had the name Owen picked out for years, and given the day we found out the news, we knew that if we had a boy we wanted his middle name to be Drew. As my pregnancy progressed, and we got through to the second trimester I approached Baylee, and then Lore and Blake who all said yes with tears in their eyes when we asked if we could use the name Drew.
Drew’s life will always hold a place in my heart, and now his name gets to live on with Owen which is so unbelievably special for me. I realize that my position in Drew’s death could have been worse. That I am beyond lucky to have both of my parents around and in Owen’s life, and that while I can imagine, I will never know what it’s like to be in either Lore, Blake or Baylee’s shoes. All I can do is remember each and every day how fortunate we are to live this life, how things can change with the blink of an eye, and that if we can all make a Drew decision every now in then we will all be better off.