A huge shout out to our eldest boy Aiden, who turned 18 during the week. I first met Aiden when he had just turned ten, and have seen him grow from a quiet, withdrawn and shy boy into a young man with such strong values, and such a mature and honourable attitude to life that I have long been proud to call him my son (we don’t do halves or steps, and I’m glad. I want to be able to stand alongside all of my children without the artificial minimisation that comes with a blended family).

I look at him now– a young man with a plan to follow a career in land management, his high school years behind him and a path through TAFE mapped out, with a young family of his own that he loves, about to leave the family home and begin his life as a man in his own right, and I am filled with pride, and hope for his future. And I am comfortable in the knowledge that whatever mistakes he makes from here on out, and whatever setbacks he may encounter, will come from his attempts to do the right thing, to be an honourable and humble man with the needs of those he loves uppermost in his mind.

You are already a man who makes me glad to call myself your father, Aiden. Happy birthday, son.

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