Happy birthday, baby! You’re all grown up now, a young adult of 20.

I gave birth to you at the kitchen table, when we were newbies to Sun City. Newcomers to the Lowcountry needed information: where to find groceries, hardware, sights or directions to Savannah and Charleston. So, I took to the computer and started writing.

Looking for an appropriate name, I called you the City Sun. Now look at you.

You’ve come so far over the years, and now you’re known as the Bluffton Sun. But you’re still my pride and joy and forever will be a part of me.

Your birthdate was January 1998 and you were a small thing – just a two-sided 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper – but boy, did you have an impact!

And guess what? You still do.

The foster parents I turned you over to many years ago have made sure you got through your teen years and now into maturity.

I didn’t realize at the time of your birth that you’d still be part of my life and those of so many others. Readers liked you, but sometimes they didn’t always like the editorials.

We learned to survive and prosper with the help of neighbors who used their golf carts to distribute the growing number of issues.

Each month this volunteer distribution system kept you viable. And advertisers loved you and kept coming and coming.

You were a hit, although many times the corporate community leadership grew annoyed at the editorials and tried to tamp down your spirit.

But the press has a right to survive and we fought and won a dramatic battle, although no one was aware of it at the time.

Your dad thought you took up too much of my time, but he spent most of his time on the golf course and left us to our own devices.

The phone calls at 1 a.m. were a bit tiresome, but people were talking about us and wanted to place an ad, right then, at 1 a.m.!

I remember when you were starting to grow and neighbors would gather around the dining room table to collate and staple the early issues together.

Snowbirds who spent their summers away from the Lowcountry subscribed to the City Sun while they were gone. They didn’t want to miss an issue.

Eventually, we had to really let you blossom, so we found a newspaper press in Walterboro.

You were printed on newsprint with an entirely different look.

What a rush to see you coming off the presses, to hear the roar of that mighty machine and smell the ink.

Those senses were always in my blood, even as a young cub reporter in Los Angeles.

They still are.

Even as I write this birthday greeting to you, I can hear the presses, smell the ink. I can feel the excitement of my baby growing up and winning an award from the South Carolina Press Association.

You have been my wonder. You will continue to do great things and make your birth mother proud.

Happy birthday, baby!

Jerri Kurowski is the founding publisher and editor of the newspaper now known as The Bluffton Sun.