It’s not a hatred, but it’s a strong strong dislike sometimes.

It’s so funny how suddenly in life there’s a “right time” to have children. I put it in quotes because, if you have kids, you know there is no “right time,” there’s just “the time.” My wife, Katie, and I laugh about it because we spent our younger years so stressed out about the “dangers of pregnancy” and then when it came time to want pregnancy, it was a struggle.

3 months before doctors decided my kidney was going to need to be transplanted, a solution was brought forth to undergo chemotherapy in order to shut the kidneys down, and then blast my system with steroids to attempt to jumpstart them into working condition. It didn’t work. Now I’m not 100% sure that it was the chemo that made the fertility doctors tell me I was nearly unable to have children, but I’m playing that card, ok? So we went through the process of IVF and about $15,000 later, we were pregnant with a baby girl. 6 months later, Allison and I were sitting on the floor of the main room playing, and Katie screamed from the bathroom “I’M PREGNANT!” She came running out and we embraced and laughed and cried together. It was beautiful and Allison was staring at us in total bewilderment.

36 years old and a second child on the way. That’s kind of a late start to the kid game, and I’m sure there are many people who can identify with that. And for me, it had to be that way. My early to mid 20s were filled with selfishness and bad decisions, and my late 20s were a starting over of sorts. At the age of 30 I wasn’t even sure I ever wanted to have kids, which was an amazing point in my life, without which I probably wouldn’t have committed to both my wife and the idea of children. I had to experience for myself that place of “no” to get to a place of “yes”.

I love being a dad and I think I’m a pretty good one. I’m fortunate that I have the ability be flexible with my schedule so I can be super present in their lives. Nearly every day I’m home in time to meet them coming home from school, and I rarely if ever schedule something on the weekends to interfere with our time together. Those two things are absolutes. I also try to attend as many school functions as possible, I love playing with them, and I try as hard as I can to be present with them. But, of course, there are things about it that just plain suck, and I’m not at my best in those moments. Bedtime for one has been a really trying time for me in these past 3 years. These kids are fucking with my sleep and I don’t like it! I get really frustrated if Allison doesn’t go down right away and I struggle when John wakes up at 5:30 am. I’m not proud of it but I’ve been known to whisper “I hate these fucking assholes” as I’m getting out of bed and putting slippers on to go quiet one of them down. If it makes it any better, I would never say it to their faces, but sometimes it slips out when they can’t hear it. I can’t help it.

So I know what that feeling is and I can physically identify it when it’s approaching. If it’s during the day, generally (certainly not always) I am able to breathe through it and let it pass and keep my cool. I couldn’t say the same when I was younger. I had much less self restraint and my fuse would light much quicker. They are literally the best teachers in the world, and I think waiting until my mid 30s to have them has made me a much better student.