I always wanted to have kids when I was a young kid. I don’t know exactly when or exactly why, but I knew I wanted to have a family. In some ways I find it a little weird because I struggled growing up feeling like I fit in. I was adopted when I was 10 weeks and my parents broke the news to me when I was 4 years of age that I was adopted. In spite of these struggles and others, there was always a desire to have my own family. I got married to Jamie when I was 29 and I was 31 when we had Nola. Life was great. It was a very exciting time in our lives and then it was time to go home with this new little human who depends on you for everything. When we brought Nola home, we had absolutely no idea of what we were getting into. No matter what books we read or how many parents we talked to, nothing truly prepares you for parenthood. No one! The first five months were the most difficult. Nola was a fussy baby. I would put her in the stroller at 3AM and push her around the underground parking garage at our apartment. Although, there were challenges in the first few months, I loved being a dad. It was one of the best things that had ever happened to me. As time went on, Memphis came onto the scene. My firstborn son. That was a very special day too. Two years later, and one vasectomy later, River was born. River’s birth was quite the life changing event. Our family was now complete. It was amazing being the father of three great kids. It was nothing like what I thought it would be, it was better. As time went on, the pressures of life began to mount and life wasn’t as enjoyable as it once was. Fatherhood wasn’t fun. Not only was it not fun, it was tough. None of mine children came with a manual. Even after having a 8, 6, 4 year old, there is still so much I have to learn about them and myself. Looking back on my first 8 years of fatherhood, there are a few ‘proud dad’ moments I will forever cherish. There are some ‘not so proud dad’ moments too I would love to forget about. To be honest, there is a lot I would do differently if I could, but I know I can’t. Today, I choose to hold my kids a little closer and a littler tighter these days. Time is a precious commodity. You can’t save it, you can’t buy it, you can only spend it. This Christmas is going to be different in our house and that’s ok. What’s important is to have those I love deeply close to me.