Happy 4th Luke: A Mom’s True Confession

Today, Luke turns four.

That just feels weird typing it out for the world to see.


Some of you have been with us before the beginning. As in the beginning of the blog. Some of you joined us and followed along during Luke’s tenuous NICU stay. And some of you are all, “What?!? Luke was a preemie?” It’s okay, I love each and every one of you. Your comments and sweet words have always come at just the right time in our Luke journey. Today, I’d like to share a few words from my heart, to Luke’s.

Indulge a sentimental mom, will ya?

luke_first meeting, blog

Dear Luke, 

Today you are four. And I can honestly tell you that there were hours, days, even a month or two in there, that I wasn’t sure you’d ever make it to the ripe ‘ol age of four. I was convinced that if you did, you would be a shell of the boy I dreamed you would be.

Look who’s having the last laugh now.

You run. Everywhere. I’ve stopped counting how many times a day I say, “LUKE. WALK.” It’s like an oxymoron. You live life in the fast lane and you never want to miss anything.

You are still Cars 2’s biggest fan. No really. I won’t be the least bit surprised when studio executives come knocking on the door and ask for you to be the spokesperson for Cars 3. I still adore the way you say “Franchesco,” it’s “Ranfresco” to you. That movie saved us during your brain surgery earlier this year. I think we watched it a consecutive 12 times. Oh, how I wish I was lying.

Luke, nobody snuggles like you. Every afternoon, the best part of my day creeps in and I can tangibly feel God’s love. It’s a sweet little voice that says, “Momma, we rock?” And we do. We turn off the light, turn on the fan and sit in the big, brown, comfy rocker in your room, you lay your head on my shoulder, and we rock. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, you fall asleep in my arms. Sometimes, if I’m really, really lucky, I fall asleep with you.

You love school! You go three mornings a week and can’t wait to head to the van with your backpack and lunch sack in hand. You made crazy amazing progress there last year and I expect you’ll do the same, and then some, this year. I think your favorite part of the day is stopping by Ms. Meme’s office to get your sticker.

You still don’t eat that great. I mean, you’ve stopped throwing up at every meal (WINNING!) and you no longer gag when you see food. Someday you’ll eat that burger, it just probably won’t be today. You are getting braver trying new foods and sitting in your assigned spot at the dinner table. We’re still working on quantity but your awesome feeding therapist Laurie has worked miracles with you.

Speaking of therapy, you do a lot. Three therapists see you every week – speech, occupational and physical – and somehow you’ve managed to charm all three, plus the office staff. When I take you, I barely get a wave as you trot off to your favorite two hours every week. This mom is hoping that we can whittle that list down to one therapist and one hour come January. We shall see.

Your eyelashes. I know, now you’re just shaking your head in embarrassment. But really, son, things that beautiful must be talked about. They melt my heart when you bat them and you’ve learned to do that often, especially when you’re in trouble.

The potty training still eludes us, but toilets are so overrated aren’t they? Maybe by age five we’ll master it. While I’m in a hurry, you clearly aren’t.

You are funny. When we don’t come to get you up soon enough in the morning, you just knock on your door and scream: “MOMMY! DADDY! JOHN PAUL!” until we come upstairs. The kids all agree, your toots are the best in the house. I guess that’s the gold star you earn when you’re missing part of your colon. You giggle like crazy when you let one loose. You love Phineas and Ferb and are addicted to all things Apple TV.

Your siblings think you hung the moon. You know no fear around them. Clare dotes on you, John Paul gets you in trouble, Anna-Laura mothers you and Will just giggles at all the funny things you do and say. We all agree, though, our family isn’t complete without you.

Luke, in the last four years I’ve learned so many lessons from you. Determination. Humor. Tenacity. Patience. Faith. But the greatest, by far, is love. Everything you do, you do with passion. With love. While the tears and the struggles and the sleepless nights have been many, I think back to that moment when we almost lost you in the NICU. How I have never prayed harder in my life for God to let me keep you just a little while longer.

I’m so grateful He said yes.

Happy birthday big man. Here’s to year four. Let’s make it a great one!



luke bday_210



  1. Carmen Fenton on September 18, 2013 at 7:46 am

    What a journey and testimony. Cheers to little Luke and his amazing toots!

  2. Samantha on September 18, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Happy Birthday, Luke! You are one amazing child 🙂

    This is a beautiful post for such a special little boy.

  3. Ellen Thrifty & Chic Mom on September 18, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Beautiful, now I need a tissue! Happy Birthday Luke!

  4. Bea on September 18, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Beautifully written. Tears in my eyes as I read it from…the neurology waiting room. He is such a blessing to all. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUKE!

  5. verdinalouisa on September 18, 2013 at 9:11 am

    I feel like I’ve been with you every step of the way with that special gift from God! What a happy day this is…. what an incredible journey you are on… thank you so much for sharing so much from your heart to enable us to pray, pray, pray for your special little man!

    God bless you all!

  6. Nicole on September 18, 2013 at 11:10 am

    I did so well not shedding a tear and just smiling while reading this… until the end. You have a way with words. I hope Luke (and your older children) know how lucky they are to have a mother that so eloquently expresses her emotions for her children.

    Happy birthday, Luke!

  7. Joel Brens on September 18, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    What a touching post, Kathryn. I have always enjoyed your writing, and you have accomplished amazing things on so many levels. Thank you for your leadership, passion, and ability to connect with others through your writing. Happy 4th Birthday to Luke!

  8. Amber Fogarty on September 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Happy Birthday, Luke! You are so loved, and we hope this year is filled with fun, laughter, and love (and a lot less doctors and hospitals)!

    Kathryn, As you know, the Fogarty Family has been praying for Team Whitaker every step of the way, and we are grateful to be able to share in your journey. Your entire family has inspired us and helped us to grow in faith. Thank you for all the ways you answer the call to leadership!

  9. Stacy Duval Woodruff on September 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    We’re still working on the potty training thing too. It’s ok. Helpful hint, though – check your insurance policy. Ours starts covering diapers after the age of four. I’m positive y’all have met deductible this year, so check into it. It’s one less cost for you to have to worry about. Glad Luke is doing so well!

  10. 7 Quick Takes: A Wing and a Prayer on September 27, 2013 at 7:02 am

    […] Speaking of birthdays, we had a grand celebration last Friday. Luke’s actual birthday was this Wednesday. Of course, it has become birthday week. That’s really the only way to roll, no? I even wrote him a love letter. […]

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