Happy 18th Birthday Eli!!!!

Where have the last 18 years gone? I closed my eyes for a moment and suddenly a man stood where a boy used to be. We are so proud of the man you are becoming. You make us proud to be your parents. We hope you are also proud to be called our son. ❤️

We are so excited for what the future holds for you. You have so much fire and enthusiasm for everything you do. We hope you’ll always invite us along for the ride! We promise to always be your BIGGEST cheerleaders!

On your 18th birthday we hope that you remember who you are, and “Whose” you are. Keep Heavenly Father at the center of your life, and He will “work things together for your good”. It may not always feel that way, but He always has a plan for you. Life is a roller coaster, and He’s always buckled in the seat next to you ready to help you hang on tight! Never doubt His love for you. It is infinite and eternal.

Embrace “IT”. Whatever life throws at you, embrace. Change, obstacles, accomplishments, difficulties, adventures, success, failure are all opportunities to grow. Enjoy the moment.

Have a plan, but be flexible. If you don’t know or something feels wrong, stop and rethink your approach. Failure is an opportunity to learn; it’s not fatal.

Be confident, but stay humble. You can accomplish anything you put your mind to, so don’t doubt your abilities. On the other hand, don’t think too highly of yourself. Listen more than you speak. You will learn more by paying attention to what others have to say, and people appreciate being heard.

Ask for help. Even though you’re a “grown up,” you don’t have to go it alone. And you shouldn’t. We’ve got your back. There’s a safety net knit tightly of good friends and family who are all ready to reach out when you need that helping hand. Let their great love embolden you in weak moments. And when you get a chance, do the same for someone else. There is almost nothing in the world that will cure what ails you like doing something nice for someone else.

Be selfless. Let someone else have the nice chair, closer parking space or last slice. Look for simple ways to help others.

There is no substitute for hard work. And you are the poster-child for this! We’ve watched you over the years go through the process of working toward your goals and have shown not only us, but yourself, how you can do hard things, and how rewarding the road to reaching those successes is just as, if not more, fulfilling as the achievement itself.

Intelligence and wisdom are not the same. Intelligence is the ability to learn. Wisdom is using knowledge and experience to make good choices. You can be both.

Love outrageously! Be a man who is known by his affections and his actions. Value your family and forge friendships that last.

Hold your fire. People, things, and even circumstances may be fully deserving of the full power of your ire. Hold your fire. Count to ten, whistle a happy tune, find your happy place. Do whatever you have to do to find a peaceful but workable solution. The world needs more lovers, not fighters.

Own your mistakes. Everything isn’t always someone else’s fault. When you claim an error as your own—instead of blaming someone else—you can start to fix it right away. Making excuses is just a waste of time that you could be spending learning better ways to do things.

You have no idea what it’s like to watch someone grow up before your eyes yet, but we hope you get that privilege. You were a beautiful, perfect boy the minute we met you and your bright, (and loud…LOL!) golden light has never dimmed. We are so unspeakably proud of the young man you have become inside and out.

These eighteen years you have been alive also happen to coincide with some of the best eighteen years of our life. That’s no coincidence. Your coming into this world has profoundly changed ours. No words can adequately describe our love, pride, and hope for you. We are blessed to call you our son. And today we are also pleased to call you a man.

The best is yet to come, son!

Happy Birthday!! 🎂🎉 We love you!!