On January 18, 1996 I gave birth to my one and only child. It was the most wonderful day of my entire life and I fell in love in a way I did not know was possible. This child is magic. He is funny, smart, charming, handsome, kind, aware, generous, compassionate, and a truly wonderful human being. He possesses all the best parts of his dad and me and I see us both in him. He makes me happy, gives me joy, brings me peace, and inspires me every single day of my life to keep the faith. Today my beautiful boy turns 18.

He has a very clear idea of what he wants to do with his life and has had the same vision for himself since he was very young. He has never wavered and works really hard to make his dreams come true. To mark his 18th birthday we are heading to New York City. He has a college interview which he is excited and nervous about. We are going to walk through one of our favorite cities, eat fabulous food, visit with friends, and celebrate the 18 years that we have been together. He is my favorite person in the entire world.

I often think about what kind of relationship my Dad and son would have now. My Dad passed away when my son was five and they were very close. I watch videos of them together and it makes my heart sing and ache at the same time.  My Dad would love and adore the young man his grandson has become. That my son has such a great love for England, where my amazing Dad was from, would tickle him and make him very proud. I am blessed to be able to see pieces of my father everyday in my son and I am so grateful.

In honor of my son turning 18 I would like to share 18 wonderful things about this truly remarkable young man.

1. He makes me laugh every day.

2.  He is compassionate to people in need.

3. He loves and respects animals.

4. He knows how to treat a lady.

5. He is not afraid of emotion.

6. He is protective of his Mom.

7. He is a great friend.

8. He is fearless about living life.

9. He is a talented chef.

10. He is focused and driven.

11. He is brave.

12. He is a brilliant dancer.

13. He is a magnificent actor.

14. He is loyal.

15. He values the earth.

16. He respects himself.

17. He is honest and has integrity.

18. He is all my hopes and dreams come to life.

To my son, Happy Birthday. You are magnificent and I am very proud of you. Thank you for being such a pleasure to raise. I am honored to be your mother and even though you have been reminding me for several weeks that today marks your entrance into adulthood, you will always be my baby. It is my greatest joy to witness your life and I am surprised, excited, humbled, and proud of each step you take towards your future. It is a true blessing for a mother to watch her child define how he will keep the faith.