Becoming a parent completely shifts your focus. Whereas before you may have worried about what kind of car you drive or what exotic holiday destination to pick, I have found that since the birth of Ashlee and Derek, my world truly revolves around them. Ever since they entered this world, and took their first breaths, my life has changed for the better.

That’s not to say that I wasn’t nervous about their impending arrival because I was. Of course, I was so excited when Alida told me she was pregnant because I have longed to be a father. But you hear these stories, don’t you? Stories of things going wrong during the birth. In fact, I once read a story about how someone had to get in touch with a professional HIE lawyer because their baby’s brain didn’t receive enough oxygen or blood flow and they now have to live with the mistakes that a medical professional (who you trust) has made. It is truly devastating. At least they got the compensation they deserved though. So as you can imagine, there was definitely some nervous tension during the delivery, but when they made their entrance healthy and perfect, all this worry disappeared.

Now, when they are happy, I am happy! Apart from the fact that I equally value Alida’s happiness. Family time is what I enjoy most and I think I can speak for both myself and Alida when I say that our family is what matters most to us and what provides us with our fuel for life.

“Money won’t buy you happiness”, they say, and as old and worn out that saying may be, it is true to this day. The good stuff like family, friendship and love come from spending time together and, granted my little ones are great spenders, money only provides a secondary support structure that allows you to do nice things with your loved ones, go on nice holidays, drive a nice car and put a roof over your head.

Undoubtedly, my family’s health and safety along with having the privilege to spend time together is what makes both Adila and I most happy. That’s why I rush home after work each day and squeeze as much time out of my week as I can to spend with Adila, Ashlee and Derek.

Now that I have a family of my own, it has made me realize what a great job my own parents did with me when I was growing up. I can’t believe it has taken for me to have a family of my own to realize it. I know I should’ve done it a lot sooner. We spent every free minute we had together, and I now have memories that will last an entire lifetime. The same can be said for the time that I had with my grandparents. Aren’t grandparents the best? My grandparents were amazing! From letting us play in their garden to feeding us more treats than we probably should have had, they were some of my favorite people in the whole world. It was a shame to see them struggle to look after themselves, but we were just so blessed that they received the care and support that they did from the senior living center, similar to Chelsea Senior Living ( that they moved into during their latter years.

They taught me all there is to know about being a parent, and one day, I will be able to have the same relationship with my grandchildren, and I just can’t wait for this day. Family time is so special to me, which is why I cherish it so much.

Sometimes, when the kids are playing out in the garden or we are on a joint adventure, I take a step back, just to value and appreciate all that I have. A good job, nice house, a great wife and two beautiful, healthy children. How lucky am I! All of this is so much more than millions of people all over the world, many of whom are suffering ill-health, poverty, the horrors of war and, considering all of this, any of my little worries just fade and vanish and in these moments, I am just eternally happy and grateful.

There is a lot to be said for the ordinary, the everyday, the going to work in the morning and spending time with your wife and kids, no hassle, no strife. Even when we argue or disagree, the underlying connection remains, and I know in the depth of my heart that my family provides me with an unshakably strong base for joy and happiness.

Through our website, I have witnessed many tragedies, families struggling to cope and seeking support. If you can lead your life, the ordinary way, and escape any major disaster, you will have led a privileged existence. Unfortunately, often small worries take on a life of their own and you forget the important stuff – until you are shaken out of it by a real fear, that is.

I remember returning home one day, having had a very minor disagreement with someone at work. I was irritated, even furious and thought this was a big deal, this was just after Ashlee’s birth. When I returned home, Adila told me that Ashlee had a really high temperature and on hearing this, I panicked. Gone were the thoughts of the argument at work, all I could do now was worry about my little darling princess. I was scared, worried and all sorts of horrible visions went through my head. Luckily, with the help of a great doctor, Ashlee’s temperature soon went down and we were back to being ourselves.

That day I really and truly learned the “don’t sweat the small stuff” lesson and I must say that since endeavoring to do so, I have been so very happy.

Gratitude greatly contributes to our happiness, simply because it creates an awareness of all that you are lucky enough to have. Everyday, I try to be grateful and appreciate the abundance of love, joy and support my family provide me with. I am also happy when I can spend time with my extended family and friends and when I can be of some small use to the people and the community around me. Being there for others and lending a helping hand where possible is really important to both of us.

Family, community and time spent together is what matters most to me and is my greatest source of joy and happiness.