The sight of the baby boy the moment he was placed in my arms changed my life forever.
From the safety and security inside his Mom to the big, unruly, complex and remarkable world outside of it he was born.
He holds the names of his grandfathers.
One he never met.
The other who has never failed to fulfil his duties to his grandson.
Today, this baby boy becomes even more a man as he turns 17 years old.
Owen is everything a parent could ever hope for in a son.
He has been every second of every minute of every hour of every day that he has been in this world.
I often write about Owen, as I do his sister, Maisie.
Owen is, for anybody who reads anything I write, my Hero.
He has emerged from the travels through the years as a formidable force of nature.
He has a deep voice that speaks, not loudly, but with command and conviction.
Standing six feet two, with piercing blue eyes and a ready smile Owen is a young man who aspires to, and achieves, what his parents had always hoped he would become:
A good person.
The world needs more good people. It needs young men who aren’t afraid to believe in something.
Young men who understand their obligation to themselves, those around them and the larger community in which they have been privileged in America to live.
Owen has a profound appreciation for the live he has in this country.
It reflects his passion for history and the world around him.
Through his participation in JROTC and the Sea Cadets Owen has learned how to take his instinct to be a leader and develop the skills necessary to be a leader.
He honors those who came before him in both of these programs by understanding the privilege, the honor and responsibility he holds to move with purpose and strive for excellence.
He stands in awe of men and women who have risen above adversity to achieve great things and who have given of themselves to serve others in their lives.
But, Owen doesn’t just stand. He acts.
In his words, and in his deeds, Owen sets forth in the world his promise to not be a bystander, but an active participant, a citizen of his community, his country and his world.
Owen is also wicked smart, and wicked funny.
Woe to those who are up against Owen in a struggle for knowledge.
He will climb, scrape and scramble his way to it, to learn it, process it and be prepared, whether you’re ready or not, to divulge it!
One of Owen’s earliest favorite teachers once said that Owen was a “sponge and a fountain” to describe his propensity for accumulating vast amounts of knowledge and his equal propensity for disseminating it to everyone around him.
Owen is quick with a quip and a wry commentary on the world condition.
With a twinkle in his eye he will make you laugh. Not just at his joke but at the joy in which he just shared it with you.
One of the most wonderful sounds in our home is that which occurs when Owen begins his carefully chosen assault on my wife’s funny bone.
She succumbs to his clever wit and biting commentary with a laugh that is as beautiful to hear as her smile is to see.
Every parent wants their child to be happy and grow with confidence and self-esteem.
We, of course, are no different.
Owen is a solid and sturdy young man. But, like every young man growing to become the adult he needs to be to walk into the world ahead of him he has his struggles and challenges and obstacles.
Owen doesn’t falter.
He doesn’t blink.
There is no quit.
At 17 Owen is not yet done growing up. Inside of that frame of a man is still a lot of boy.
I am grateful for that.
A boy who likes to play, who has days fraught with confusion, complication and complexity.
A boy who will, from time to time, let his Dad hug him, and if I am quick, give him a kiss.
A boy who has an unending reservoir of love for those around him.
A boy who I love so much that it requires me to turn away at times to hide my tears from him.
The world is waiting for a Hero.
He lives in my home.
His name is Owen Francis Mische.
Happy Birthday, Owen!