A year ago during our WPPI Platform we showed this video that told Sonya & Steven’s story of how he was deployed in Afghanistan when she was pregnant and gave birth without him back in the States to their first child, baby Grace. Then we surprised everyone in the room and brought them up on stage.
These guys knew they were there to surprise everyone in the room, but what they didn’t know is that once they were up there….we had a surprise for them. We said that since they had missed out on the magic of sharing the first few months of Grace’s life together, we thought we would do something to bring a little magic back. So we gave them 4 days & 3 nights in Walt Disney World, and Justin & I would fly down to do a shoot of them while they were there.
We scheduled the trip for this year right before the What’s Next Tour, and right before Steven had to deploy again. When we saw them, it turns out that Sonya is now pregnant with their second child. And everything- the deployment, the due date, how long he’ll be gone after- is lining up to be just like the first time. That Steven will be out serving his country when he misses the birth of now his second child. When I asked them why they would do this, knowing how hard it was to be apart the first time….they both simply said, “Because we want our kids to know our life was about something bigger than ourselves.”
Gah! I LOVE these guys! And for me, I think the best surprise that came out of all of this had nothing to do with WPPI or Platform talks. It didn’t even have anything to do with Disney World or mouse ears. The best surprise for me is the friends for life we’ve found in these two. And what an honor it is to know them. Because honestly, they make us want to be better people! Ladies & Gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you, Officer Steven Verblaauw, his wife Sonya & (not quite a baby anymore!) Little Miss Grace!!