This year has been a wave of emotions, and honestly, the balancing act of it all has been tough. In September, my wife, Aimee, and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary as well as the arrival of our baby girl, Ava. The intensity of navigating my daily duties as a husband, provider, and now father has ignited an unexplainable feeling. At 34, I’ve worn many hats and experienced several life-changing events, but I believe this is my “winning season.” My season of growth.
With the holidays right around the corner, Christmas this year carries a different meaning. Becoming a father has, indeed, been a surreal experience. It is a level of ￼vulnerability I never knew existed but a depth of love and pride I always knew I wanted to experience in my lifetime. Self-serving is no longer an option. Every decision I make, whether small or substantial, requires me to put them [my family] at the center of it all. ￼￼
Going from a family of two to three (or four to five if you consider our two dogs, and yes, they are family) has come with an array of transitions and challenges. I’m forever tired. I’m always anxious. In these last three months, the most significant change has been waking up each day with the intent of knowing that my wife and I have created this healthy child that is reliant on us and requires our unwavering love and support. What lies behind her happy smile and those big beautiful brown eyes is her counting on my every move. Although unable to express her thoughts at this time, I seemingly notice her eyes constantly scanning the room, always observing, and soon she’ll begin to learn and possibly imitate my actions.
Because of this, I genuinely believe my recent decision to take a leap of faith makes much more sense. In 2017, I left my “good” corporate America job in pursuit of something more. Although I didn’t realize it then, this was [actually] the beginning stages in preparation for the birth of my daughter. Looking back, all aspects of my life perfectly aligned in my favor. As I took that leap of faith, it was a defining moment, a moment for my daughter Ava to hopefully witness my evolution and fearlessness today.
My search for fulfillment has shifted, and my purpose is driven toward something far more meaningful. No longer am I solely on a quest for a successful career, I’m focused on the larger scale of building a family legacy. As my career as an executive chef continues to progress, the daily￼ sacrifices have multiplied, which can become stressful. Knowing the years are short and these precious moments of watching her grow don’t last forever, the long hours I sometimes spend away, especially, now in her early developmental stages has made me ask the question, is it worth it?