A Thanksgiving to remember: one couple’s journey to restoration

Shawn & Bonnie McCown

“All I ever wanted to be was a dad.” That was one of his last thoughts before making a decision that could end it all.

Shawn and Bonnie McCown’s story began innocently enough. But theirs would prove to be a roller-coaster journey of love, pain, addiction, and heartache.

It was 1994 when Bonnie first caught his eye at their workplace. “I showed up every day at her office just to talk to her,” he recalled.

But Bonnie wasn’t feeling it. “I had just gotten divorced and had three young girls, so I wasn’t really interested.” After all, Shawn was seven years younger, and Bonnie came with plenty of baggage.

Shawn was not deterred, however. If anything he felt challenged and made the daily choice to keep coming back. That’s a phrase that would hold special meaning years later.

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College move-in day: a dad’s heartfelt journey of letting go

This is the day we’ve spent the last 18 years preparing for. It’s the day we move my son, Jackson, in at the college of his choice — the University of Oklahoma. Which brings me to a rather pressing question: If I’ve known for so long that this day was coming, why do I feel so surprised by it all?

I mean, I’m a licensed counselor, so it couldn’t be denial . . . could it?

We just spent an entire school year checking off milestones to this very day. And while my wife has struggled with waves of sadness that whole time, I’ve been the tough one who has always reminded her, “This is what we’ve been planning for. There’d be something wrong if he didn’t grow up.”

I was steadfast. Consistent. Unwavering.

Why then did I just now notice that the hourglass was flipped, and the few grains of sand that remain are making their way through the neck with ever-increasing speed?

Continue reading “College move-in day: a dad’s heartfelt journey of letting go”