As I sit here on the eve of your 18th birthday, I am overwhelmed with emotion. I did not think I would be, but here I am wiping away a few tears as I think of how quickly you have become a young man. I am so proud of who you have become. You are intelligent, business savvy, talented and creative with the biggest heart.
I am overjoyed by your love for photography. I too have loved photography for as long as I can remember. I only dabbled behind the camera but am much more comfortable as the admirer of art. Knowing you view the world through a lense leaves me excited to see your next piece. Even though you have slowed down on the writing, you are a gifted writer. Perhaps journalism is in your future. I do hope you decide to express yourself through writing again one day.
Your advocacy for your peers is to be admired. I am thrilled when you want to talk about the things going on in your world and the world at large. Your need for social justice and equality reminds me of someone I know very well. I hope you never lose your passion for these things.
I admire your love of family. The bond that you share with your extended family is something that you will always cherish. Make memories and stay connected.
I put this slide show together and could not help but notice how much you and I traveled together. We had a blast in Italy. Rome was the gift I wanted to give to you and to see the smile on your face was priceless. The train ride to Cortona where we spent the day with an amazing family was the highlight of that trip. Watching you play soccer with the backdrop of rolling hills on the countryside is an image etched into my memory. Who can forget the fun we had with Michelle and Chef Andrea in the cooking class? You will forever know how to make homemade pasta and sauce!
You discovered a temporary love of gelato in Budapest. I am still amazed that we kept going back for more. Spending time at the escape room with the clues in Hungarian was thrilling; and we escaped thanks to our Hungarian connections. We could not have had a better host than Julia. We share a love for travel and I am grateful that you appreciate the different cultures and are open to learning and exploring. Eight countries, eleven states and counting…
What I would like to leave you with is this: never be afraid, take each challenge as it comes. There will be failures, accept them, learn from them and move on. Most importantly, have fun!
I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you.
I love you Jaden Miles…