Today, my son turns 18.

How is it possible?

It seems like yesterday when he was nearly born in the parking lot of the North Penn Hospital in Lansdale, PA. Isaac was ready for the world, and I’m so thankful he joined our family.

He has grown in so many ways since this May 6, 2000. Physically, he is taller than me (I’d say he’s at least 6’6″ – since I’m 1/4″ short of 6’6″). But his growth is more than height. Isaac has a remarkable character and a spiritual depth beyond his 18 years.

As Leanne and I prepare to send him (our youngest) to college and into adulthood, we are thankful. We feel blessed that God has given us such a gift. Children truly are a blessing from the Lord. While Isaac is entering the adult world (he informed us that he can now purchase many things that he legally couldn’t before today), he will always be our “little buddy”, or kid.

As I think about Isaac’s 18th birthday, I thought I’d share 18 cool things about Isaac:

  1. Isaac is an amazing cook. Seriously, his culinary skill is phenomenal. He’s not afraid to try new things in the kitchen, and his experimentation typically pays off.
  2. Isaac is a gifted musician. Many who know Isaac know this already. He really has a gift for music. I’ve enjoyed seeing his musical taste expand as he’s been exposed to various composers, musicians, and musical genres.
  3. Isaac is kind. He has a sensitivity to those around him. He cares deeply those around him who are hurting or struggling. (I think he’s so much like Leanne in this area.)
  4. Isaac is a quiet boy. I think Hannah used to say this. Isaac is okay to just be with you. He doesn’t feel the urge to fill the silent moments with unnecessary words.
  5. Isaac is funny. I’d like to think that he inherited some of my humor (and my Grandpa Stolpe’s humor). He really does make people laugh.
  6. Isaac is smart. Poor Isaac has had to live in the shadow of his academically inclined sister. I’m not sure how much this impacted Isaac; Leanne and I have tried our best not to play the comparison game with our children. We don’t need to compare though to tell you that Isaac really is bright. His grades have been good, and we are amazed at the amount of information he can store in his head. More than that, we are amazed at how he uses that information to make solid decisions.
  7. Isaac has a beautiful heart for God. You may see glimpses of this as he plays the keyboard for church on Sunday mornings are evenings. The last couple of years, I have noticed Isaac using his free time to get closer to God. He is reading books to help expand his knowledge and to draw him closer to the Creator.
  8. Isaac is a fast hiker. A couple of weeks ago, he and I went on a hike on a nearby trail. I managed to keep up with him (barely) as we quickly ascended the rocky quarter-mile climb to the ridge. When we arrived at the top, he kept the pace going while my lungs recovered. We’re looking forward to hiking in the Grand Canyon this summer. I hope the rest of us can keep up!
  9. Isaac is an Eagle Scout. I’m not sure how you feel about the Boy Scouts, but our family is very thankful for the impact of this organization and it’s leaders on our son. Isaac learned a lot through his scouting experience. Today, he officially ages out. He is looking forward to helping out as a leader.
  10. Isaac isn’t afraid to try new things – especially when it comes to food. I’m more tentative, but Isaac keeps me stretching and growing. Today, we’re going to a Korean BBQ place to celebrate his birthday. I’ve never had Korean BBQ before, but that doesn’t stop Isaac.
  11. Isaac is an overcomer. From birth all the way into middle school, Isaac had a major fear of mascots. His anxiety level dramatically rose whenever he noticed a mascot nearby. We couldn’t go anywhere near someone dressed in costume without Isaac freaking out. It was irrational, and Isaac knew it. But he couldn’t help it. Over the past few years, he has faced his fears, and he no longer goes crazy when we run into a mascot. (It probably doesn’t hurt that he is bigger than most mascots now.)
  12. Isaac does not play basketball. Everyone asks Isaac if he plays basketball when they see him and notice how tall he is. He stopped playing in 7th grade when he realized he didn’t like the pressure the game was causing him. Isaac doesn’t play basketball.
  13. Isaac has become somewhat of a neat freak (at least this is my observation). Isaac used to have a very messy room. Over the past year or two, we’ve seen a change in Isaac. He picks up after himself. His room is clean most of the time, and he even helps clean up the kitchen whether or not he made the mess. (Now, if I could just get him to put away his shoes in the mud room!)
  14. Isaac is patient. I’ve seen him work with younger scouts and kids at our church. I admire his ability to patiently sit, listen, and instruct. I think he’s going to be a great music teacher.
  15. Isaac is handsome. Every parent is going to say that about their kids. I think it’s true about Isaac. Some people say he looks like me, but I think he has elements from Leanne’s side as well.
  16. Isaac has a bright future. As he prepares to head to Grove City College in the fall, Leanne and I are excited to watch Isaac use his gifts and talents to have an impact on this world.
  17. Isaac is a hard worker. Last summer, Isaac started landscaping. The guy he works for has hired many people to help with the booming business. His boss has told Isaac and me who thankful he is for Isaac who outworks his other employees.
  18. Isaac is Isaac. He is unique. He’s friendly. He’s my son, and I’m so proud of him. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUDDY! I love you! Love, Dad