This morning I was awakened with a kiss from my husband, he leaned in to whisper in my ear and said "2 down....5 to go. We have gotten two to 18 without anybody being maimed, dead, pregnant or getting someone pregnant. " I smiled a really large smile!

18 years ago, Kenneth was born to Seth and his high school girlfriend. Through a series of events he ended up with full custody of his son and was a single parent at age 16. Seth, with a lot of family and community support, parented Kenneth for six years. Then our lives crossed paths again. Oh, we had crossed paths before...the first time being when I was 16 and he was 12. I was getting ready for a date, and he was there to help his dad shoe (shaw?) our horses. I thought he was a little nerd and in later years he has come to tell me how cute he thought I was (yeah I bet!)

One night, when Seth and I were just beginning to date, I was sitting with the cutest six year old boy you have ever seen! The dark Montana sky was full of beautiful stars, and this little guy was chatting away on my lap. Now days he isn't as chatty as he used to be, unless he really has a tale to tell. He was kicking his little feet when looked up at me and asked" Will you be my mommy?" I didn't know the answer at the time, but I made the promise to always be a part of his life. However, as providence would have it, I became his mom.

No one can tell me being a mother comes from carrying a child in your womb. I have, and I could not love my boys Seth has gifted me with anymore than the five I carried within me. We have been through many scrapes, and joys together. I have sat up nights worried about his future, prayed through a few ER visits, hugged as he handled disappointments, encouraged his growth, begged him to communicate and all the things parents go through with their kids! I am thankful for the amazing young man he has become and am so very proud and thankful I have been given the incredible gift of being his mother. This gift seems so enormous and my heart is so very full.

Kenneth, you have excelled at everything you put your mind to. I am so very proud of the young man you have become. I look forward to watching you as you continue your journey into adulthood. Pa and I will always be here, and just know ...you can always come home again...no matter where your travels take you or what adventures you experience. Happy Birthday Boo!