Sarah and I took Bowen to the zoo for the first time this week. The photo I posted here isn’t anything special from a photographer’s point of view. It’s just a simple picture I took of my son, with my phone, in front of a bronze lion at the zoo; but when I looked at this picture I saw so much more.

As many of you already know, Bowen’s name means β€œsmall victorious one.” Around the time of his birth, lions seemed to be a theme. You may remember this photo.

Last fall, I wasn’t sure if Bowen would ever leave the hospital, or if he’d ever know what it was like to play outside under an open sky. Now here we are, about to celebrate his first birthday.

The leaves on the ground and the smell of cool air are the signs of this new season, but they’re also reminders of the old. There’s a strange mix of emotions as we move into September. We are full of excitement as Bowen’s birthday approaches, and yet we have shared some more somber moments because the memories of all that he’s endured have become much more vivid in our hearts and minds.

As we enter this season, it helped my heart to see my boy tucked in the arms of a lion, looking content and courageous, staring up into the open sky.