Eleven years ago I was a 21-year-old junior in university about to embark on a journey that could only be described as "scary as %#@*!"
Still baby-faced and pimply, I had no idea the road ahead me and what it would entail.
The sacrifices that would have to be made.
The sleepless nights.
The shift in thinking - from "me" to "we" - that would prove to make or break our success.
Eleven years ago today, I became a father for the very first time.
Eleven years ago, with minimal support, Rozanne and I were living in student family housing as an unwed couple. I was working full-time, she was a new full-time mom and we were both trying to finish school.
With no real sense of "how" to do things and all these obstacles and stereotypes to overcome, the one thing that pulled us through, the one thing that remained constant, the one thing that made us stronger was our newborn baby daughter - Angelica Jordan.
It is no doubt that I am a young father and that I will always be THE young father.
I listen to 90's hip-hop music.
I wear hoodies & jeans.
A fitted "Abercrombie & Fitch" T-shirt doesn't look ridiculous on me.
I don't look like the other dads standing on the sideline of the soccer pitch.
And I LOVE IT!
Being a young and fit dad allows me keep up my athletic daughter. It allows me to somewhat relate to what she's going through because I can recall what I went through. It's allowed to forge a really close relationship with her.
The most amazing thing that I've noticed in my 11 years of fatherhood is being able to recognize little pieces of me in HER.
Her DRIVE in wanting to master any physical task.
Her COMPASSION & SENSITIVITY towards others.
Her willingness to GIVE as much as she can to those she loves.
So to all DADS out there...
Soak up everything you can with your children.
Be there as often as you can.
Work isn't that important. Money isn't that important. The latest in toys and gadgets aren't that important.
Happy 11th Birthday, AJ.
Daddy Loves You.