It was 17 years ago on March 26th at 4:09pm in a hospital on the Army base at Ft. Riley, KS that my life changed in ways I couldn’t have possibly foreseen.

My first child was born; my son – my Jacob.

In these last 17 years this beautiful child has made me laugh, made me cry, made me proud, made me mad, made me happy, made me grateful and every other possible emotion that one could have – and even a few emotions that I do not have a name for.

Jake 1997

I’ve watched him make friends and get into fights; go on his first date and find his first love; lose a game and win a gold medal.  The list of accomplishments and defeats I’ve seen this kid go through would go on for miles.

And I’ve loved every minute of it and would change a single second.

I was 19 years old when Jake entered my life.  I was very young and naïve and there was an entire state between my mother and I – the one that knows everything – so I couldn’t just ask her to come over to help me!  17 years ago things like Skype didn’t exist so I could show my mother the rash on his face that scared the crap out of me and get her advice – better yet, THE WORLD WIDE WEB didn’t exist in my life!  I couldn’t just Google 'why won’t he stop crying?' or 'what do I do when he refuses to eat?'  My 'World Wide Web' was my mother and to connect I had to pick up a land-line telephone and call her.

Jake - 2013
Eric Karr Photography

Sometimes I look at my son and think to myself – 'how the hell you ever made it out alive during the first few years of life is nothing short of a miracle!'  Not because I was a bad mother – but because I wasn't 100% certain on how to be a mother.

But, we made it – and 17 years later my baby boy has somehow become a man (a man who will always be my baby boy).

So Happy Birthday Son – you are so very special to me and you’ve taught me more than I could ever possibly teach you! - Mom

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always – as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”          – Robert Munsch

Jake & Josh Abbott