Kidnapped: Owen Keenan, father of 4 girls and husband of Bridget
Kidnappers: Step- Daughters Hannah, age 16, Molly, age 13, Caroline age 9, & Bridget Jr., age 7
Room and board is what Owen Keenan’s home appears to be for him. No one can argue that his schedule isn’t crazy. Dividing his time between teaching high school math, coaching the junior varsity basketball team, and vegging at the computer, not much else can be squeezed out of Owen. He admits that “I see my students more than I see my children”. Making a commitment to the basketball team, Owen is pulled away for practices and games Monday through Saturday. Making a difference in so many children’s lives but his own. His wife, Bridget, does everything she can to manage her kids schedules and be present for them. And although Owen knows the importance of education, he has yet to attend one of his own kid’s parent-teacher conference, not to mention recitals or anything having to do with his own kids. He has no real interest in even seeing the pictures. Understandably, all of his girls are feeling rejected.
Clearly a kidnapping is needed but try getting 4 girls ranging from 16 to 7 to agree upon a location. The older girls shot high for Hawaii but reality hit quickly. The younger shot low with ice skating. Then mom reminded them of their love for animals and a drive-thru Safari trip was planned. They were heading to San Diego Zoo, Safari Park. Now all they needed was help to cancel all that Owen has going on. Hannah began by calling the head coach to see if he could help out. They only needed one week to make this happen. With a little hesitation, he finally agreed to cancel the practice and make it all work. Next Owen’s daughters sat down to write their letters. As he was at practice, they all prepared for the kidnapping by packing their bags.
The kids and their mom all showed up center court as they waited nervously for Owen to arrive. He had no idea that the practice had been canceled and looked PISSED when he showed up. I actually was a bit worried for the kids and thought he was really mad. As Hannah starts with “Dear Owen…” I can’t help but feel sad that they have become so disconnected that she doesn’t even call him dad. True he is her step-father, but seriously. As Bridget read her letter to her husband, you could tell Owen was overwhelmed by the love. He looked different.
At the zoo the girls eyed a hot-air balloon ride. Terrified of heights, Owen did his best to avoid it. Avoiding the “old back injury” excuse, Owen sucked it up and did it for his kids. Happy about making memories together, they all agreed this was something they needed to do more often.
Being home, the kids raced to disassemble dad’s computer. Not wanting it to end. Next came the special outings. Bridget Jr. and Caroline dragged dad to a dance lesson. What a good sport! Caroline was so happy…”I have the best dad ever!”. Molly’s hang time was simpler. She wanted to play cards. This allowed her to share with him that she missed him. During the game Owen said “I have four girls” and Molly just lit up. Loves and hugs all around.
The next day, Owen took on the responsibilities that mom normally takes care of…the first being taking Hannah to re-take her driver’s license test. Waiting nervously for his daughter, she came out all smiles and headed straight for a hug which made Owen feel even closer to her. Finally the girls and their father are getting to a good place. However I think Owen may have bitten off more than he could chew when he took Hannah for her first lesson. He did GREAT though! Talk about memories…that is something Hannah will never forget.
As Owen tried to cook his family dinner, Hannah helped out a bit and found they enjoyed working as a team. Watching them it was great to see how far they had all come. To end the night, everyone sat down and wrote letters which they planned to read after a hike the next day….the final day of the kidnapping.
As the letters were read it was clear that something had shifted for them all…there was a closeness. Then Molly began to read her letter, ”Dear Dad…” I was almost in tears for them both. How powerful for Molly to feel she could say that and powerful for Owen to feel the love and know he is more. Asking for a “do-over” so that the week doesn’t end, Owen shared how much each and everyone of them means to him….a great start for a great family!
So happy for them all. I only hope once the commitments start back up that they are able to carve out the special time. They all deserve it.