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  • Writer's pictureLesly Salazar

A Rainbow Baby's Superhero 1st Birthday Party | Gainesville, Virginia

I met Emily Leonard, now Marcus, when I was a youngin'. We went to the same private school, but never had classes together because she was a few years older.

We did, however, play soccer together, so we bonded on the field. I remember always admiring her sweet, down-to-earth personality. It was impossible not to like her.

She was so nice to me, and I looked up to her.

The years passed, and Emily and I remained friends on Facebook. I was always happy for her and the life she was making for herself.

But one day, she shared a heartbreaking post that filled my eyes with tears.

On September 20, 2016, Emily had a miscarriage. I knew she was heartbroken, and I remember shedding a tear and praying for her the very moment I read the news.

Little did Eric and Emily know, however, that date would have a whole new meaning one day.


A little over a year later, Emily and Eric found out out they were expecting again.

"I was scared," Eric said.

The thought of losing another baby haunted him.

Days turned into weeks, which turned into months, and the terrifying wait was over. On September 20, 2018, exactly two years after losing their first baby, Jackson was born.

Talk about the perfect definition of a rainbow baby.

I wondered if Emily and Eric treated Jackson any differently due to the circumstances of their last pregnancy. Would they be more protective or overbearing?

Not exactly.

"I feel like everything is more special. I have more patience with him than anyone else," Emily said.


Emily and Eric planned a beautiful birthday party in their new Gainesville home. I loved the superhero theme and the outfits they had for Jackson.

He even wore Superman kicks that had little capes! *insert heart eyes*

Jackson and his cousins were the life of the party. I was pleasantly surprised when they all sat together long enough to take pictures. Yay!

Jackson's cake smash was my favorite part of the day. Seeing his face light up when he saw the cake was amazing, and his facial expressions after each bite were priceless.

The party was fun, but the people made it even more fun. I loved catching up with Emily and getting to know Eric. They're both so nice and didn't let me leave without hugs and a million thank you's.


Jackson, you are so loved. You have amazing parents who love you more than you'll ever know. Your parents describe you as a happy and content baby, and say you have a really sweet personality. Don't ever lose that. This world needs all the happiness and positivity it can get, and if all the smiles you caused at your party are any sign of your impact on the world, I'd say you're headed in the right direction.

Eric and Emily, thank you so much for trusting me to capture such a special day in not only Jackson's life, but yours as well. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!

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