Today was a huge milestone in the life of Matthew and Me. Just over 18 years ago, my beautiful Matthew was born with a unilateral cleft lip and bi-lateral cleft palate. For the past 18 years, we have almost every six weeks attended the Royal Children's and Primary Children's Hospital in Brisbane, Melbourne and Salt Lake City to visit specialists, surgeons, speech pathologists, dentists, orthodontists, etc, etc. He has endured 9 operations and countless hours of discomfit and he has done it all with the most beautiful heart and soul. Together, we have formed a bond, stronger than anything I could have dreamed of when they placed in him my arms. We always chatted on the way to and from appointments, shared a lunch date together and sometimes had a special treat. Today was a huge milestone - Why? Because Matthew had his 3rd and hopefully final set of braces removed. His teeth are as perfect as we could have hoped for. He has a beautiful clear retainer and is so handsome and beautiful. They told us he would never speak well - he delivered a fantastic speech to over 300 kids and was chosen as Middle School Captain; they told us he would never whistle - he taught himself to whistle. My Son is amazing - he is my inspiration and I know that together we have weathered these 18 years together and become closer than I could ever have hoped. ...... Our next visit is in 3 months time for a check up, but the journey is over. We shook hands with the most amazing orthodontist - Dr Hugh McCallum, our oral hygienist - Stephen Moore, a team of nursing staff and receptionists today; that have journeyed with us for the past 7 years. My thanks and blessings to them all. So what was today for me? It was exhausting - the exhaustion of 18 years, exhilarating that we have overcome the odds and wonderful that it is over.