We Lost Owen

We lost Owen.

He was playing on the Columbus Crew’s soccer field last night as part of the pregame activities.  No parents were permitted, so Steve and I sat in the stands and watched.   At 6:00, Steve and I went to meet him at Gate 120 as instructed.

He wasn’t there.

We checked the field…no Owen.

We asked those in charge…nope.  No one had seen him.

Columbus Crew guy:  “M’am, do you have a picture of your son on your phone?  We need to know what he looks like, so we can search for him.”

Me:  Blank stare at crew guy.  No one knows where my son is.

Frantically scrolling through my phone, I realize I have no picture of Owen.  I transferred all my pictures and videos to my computer yesterday morning.

Yesterday morning!  No way!

I didn’t think to retrieve a picture from Facebook.  I couldn’t think at all.

People spread out to look.  Crew guy radioed and described Owen, repeating his name, what he was wearing, and his hair color.

I watched Steve walk away…determined…looking.  I could not move.  I looked around.  Stared…barely registering the lady beside me, asking me questions.

I am trying to pray, but I can’t.  I believe the Holy Spirit stepped in for me.  I could feel it.

What in the world would I do without sweet Owen?

The child who challenges me…who makes me a better person with his questions and thoughts and unique view on the world.  The child you makes me laugh and cry and everything in between.  He’s my boy.

Guilt steps in.  Owen and I have butted heads recently over school, specifically reading/language arts.  Imagine that.  Me not accepting his performance in English. Sigh.

I am a visual learner.  Owen is auditory.  We don’t speak the same learning language, so I frustrate him and he frustrates me.  I say he’s not trying hard enough; he says, “I just don’t get it.”  I say, “try harder, spend more time, and you’ll get it.”  He nods and tries again. I take a breath and pray for patience.

Yep.  That’s guilt I am feeling.

Owen loves to show us magic tricks.  Honestly, it’s wearing me out.  That’s.  All.  He.  Wants.  To.  Do.  Magic tricks.

When I am reading a book, he interrupts with excitement:  “I just learned another trick – watch, Mom!”

Really?  This book is so good….

Snapshots of my time with Owen are flashing through my mind.

Do you ever “think” you’re too busy for your child’s latest story, magic trick, or dance? Do you ever get frustrated with homework, learning disabilities, and busy schedules?

Me too.

But, in this moment, I would read any story twice and watch any magic trick 100 times if I could just find my Owen.

Ten minutes pass.

As I look through the crowd, I see Steve and Owen walking toward me. Owen is crying, scared to death.

Here’s the story:  Owen saw the other kids leave the field, so he left too.  He didn’t see us, so he decided to look for us.  In the midst of looking, he’d gone to the bathroom.  Steve found him outside the bathroom.

“I couldn’t find you,” he said.

I embrace him, holding back my own tears.  I tell him I love him and that he should have stayed in one place, blah, blah, blah.  None of it really matters.  We found him.

I then pay $5.00 for the smallest bowl of chocolate Dippin’ Dots in the world.  (Ice cream just makes it all better:)

As we walk to our seats, I keep looking to make sure Owen’s beside me…just a little paranoid now.  Chocolate’s dripping around his mouth, and I start to wipe it.

Nope.  I kinda like the dripping chocolate…and his grass-stained jeans…and his untied shoe…and the chocolate on his jacket.

And God reminds me…I should never be too busy to watch a magic trick, tie a shoe, kiss a boo boo, or read a story.

In this season, God has called me to be the watcher of magic tricks, the teacher of my children, the chef to my family, the bride of my husband.

May I make much of Him today as I fulfill these roles for His glory.  I pray I am never too busy or rushed for magic tricks, broken hearts, or funny stories.

May you make much of Him today as you do what He’s called you to in this season.

(This is a great post on time and priorities by Sundi Jo, a gal in my Kingdom Journeys lauch group.)


  1. Julie Wagner says:

    So true Sarah! We gotta love our boys!! I listen to endless baseball statistics and trivia and catch myself fading off sometimes. Isaac will say “mom, are you listening to me?”. Guilty!! Sooooooo glad everything turned out last night with Owen!

  2. Kayla Flesher says:

    This is AMAZING!

  3. So glad everything turned out well, thank you for the reminder of not letting trivial matters of life take our eyes/ears off our children. A similar thing happened to me and Sara in DC this past summer on the Metro.

  4. There’s nothing worse than not being able to find your child. Macy disappeared once at Tri C fields. I will never forget the feeling I had while frantically searching for her. So blessed she was alright. Love your story. We are all guilty of not making time for the magic trick. Just thankful we serve a God who reminds us to make time.

  5. Great perspective. Though it’s a shock; it’s a blessing. I had this happen with my boy at McDonough park. It was a freak thing…we had people looking in the exact area where he and another boy wandered off to, and they didn’t see the boys! He was “gone” for probably 10 minutes (seemed like an eternity), but it was enough to think someone put him in the back of a truck, and I’d never see him again. He was actually holding my cell phone for me in his cargo short pocket…called frantically but the ringer was off. He and the boy just sauntered up to where we were, having no clue what had just occurred. 🙂 It was probably a bigger relief than him being born! I have also had terrible dreams of my children being in an accident, etc. and having a gaping hole in my family. As crazy as it sounds, when I remember the dream and the terrible aura of it, I remember just how blessed I am to have my kids with me, even through the chaos, pain, and frustration that happens at times! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for sharing, Amber! I am amazed at how many “I have had this happen to me” stories I have heard! Owen was only “gone” for about 15 minutes, but that’s how I felt too…as if some stranger would notice him and grab him.

  6. Carla Sloter says:

    Thank you for sharing Sarah. I am very guilty of this and there are nights that we just go go go. Go to soccer practice, go to Kung Fu practice, go to soccer game, go to work go go go… and by the time I lay my head down at night I think to myself when did I get the chance to sit down and talk to my son. When we do talk it is mom asking did you finish your homework, did you get your soccer stuff ready for tomorrow’s practice, have you brushed your teeth, get in the shower, then go to bed. I am fully capable of stopping what I’m doing to just listen to him no matter what it is. I know if I don’t then before I know it he will be in his teens and will not want to talk as much to mommy.

    I love listening to my son singing in the car and dancing all around when he thinks mommy can not see him through the rearview mirror. It puts the biggest smile on my face and warms my heart.

    • You’re welcome, Carla:) The whole ordeal just reminded me that I often place importance and value on things that neither important nor valuable. I wipe Owen’s mouth, tell him to tie his shoe, color inside the lines, write neater…blah, blah. I don’t want him to see my correction and frustration instead of my love. I want him to see my love…and I can’t show that if we are running around. We have to spend time – quality time together. It’s so so hard…prayers to you!

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