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“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

Exactly five years ago, my life changed and so did I.

Time to put away my selfishness. No more long hours of playing Madden. No more late night trips to the casino... well, not as many. And definitely, no more wasteful spending which I loved to do and I was great at! It was time to put my boyish ways aside and start this new role. I wouldn't be the first to obtain this role but it would be my first go at it. Did I plan for this? Definitely! But for those that don't know me, here's two things that are or were pretty consistent with me.

1st - I am the KING of Procrastination. Since this is a blog, I guess I have to be honest here, so don't judge me. [feel free to judge me away lol] I don't take pride in the delaying of work, it just kinda happens. Yes, I like to wait last minute to do things. BUT, that is the result of me finishing "another project" that I was working on. You see... I'm a hard worker. Even the "other project" was also done at the last minute. :(

2nd - I have the answers to everything. I know everything. And that's not because I'm smarter than everyone... its because I've experienced so much in the 42 years on this little green pong ball. The willingness to take chances on various business ventures [hair salon, managing a rapper and singer, flipping houses to name a few] has forced me to meet, work and learn from so many different people. And because of me knowing everything, I make every attempt to learn anything and everything that is brought to me. My father once said, "it doesn't cost you anything to learn something new". That statement always stuck with me. So anytime something new was up for discussion... you had my undivided attention. That is until I felt that I knew or heard enough to move forward... not to mention, I have a splash touch of A.D.D.

Yup that's me. So with this new role, there was no need for the books, the classes or anything. My life experiences would suffice. I was ready. Bring it on! There was no fear in these Haitian Canadian veins of mine. Just pure, unwavering confidence and the expectation of succeeding at a heroic level. Luckily my confidence provided an invisible blanket and cushion when my ass got knocked down, DAY ONE. I quickly discovered the role was more than any book, class or literary genius could ever describe. On January 8th 2012, I became the father of one Leia Catherine Marie Liz Bonnet.

Dear Lord... Please help me!

Leia was born "en caul", meaning she was still encased in the amniotic sac at birth. She was already starting trouble. I've never heard or seen anything like this before. And don't forget, I know ALOT! Guess I was wrong... but I'm grown to admit this. So our doctor stopped what she was doing and calmly looked at me and said;

Doc: Mr. Clifford [imagine the voice of James Earl Jones but as a female] "Do you understand why Leia is in this sac"?

Me: Ummm no...

Doc: Leia is birth is special. She is not officially born. She is in this sac which is called a veil. It is a rare and wonderful blessing.

Me: Ummm ok...

Doc: Don't worry Mr. Clifford. She is fine. Everything looks great.

At this time, I just wanted to politely scream at her and say, DO YOUR JOB in my best Coach Belichick voice but I didn't. I just starred at her. Through her. And then at Mama Bear because we still had her in The Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon position. Can't blame me for that. We'll just blame Dr. Historical Facts for that one!

Doc: Would you like to cut open the sac so Leia can join us?

Me: Ummm no. That's ok. You can finish the fine work you are doing. [enter my famous WTF smirk]

We better get a discount for the delay of game going on right now. I've never heard of a pregnancy taking a time out to discuss what was happening. But in retrospect, it was pretty awesome. And it didn't cost me anything to learn something new... even while giving birth. Or in my case, watching it!

So my little tomato potato was here. The hospital staff was amazing! They did EVERYTHING. My Princess Leia was being pampered [not including her first bath... but that's another story] and so were we. Then a few days later, these people did the most irresponsible thing ever.

They let us leave with this little girl. I have no "real" experience. I was scared. What kind of professionals allow people to leave the hospital only after 3 days! But it was time. Time for me to put what I knew and didn't know to work.

Fast forward to yesterday... it was Leia's 5th birthday. I'm still learning on the job. Some days are better than others but they ALL are blessings. Leia continues to teach me as we try to teach her. Her genuine love and infectious smile makes new emotions evolve out of me. Like crying! LOL

Everyday I thank God for my family. But it was on January 8th 2012 that I started on the path of manhood [whatever that means]. And because of that, we decided to add more joy in our lives with CJ, our son who joined the team on September 17th 2013. More things to learn and love.

As my little tomato potato continues to learn, grown and live her life... I too need to continue to learn and grow. She's no longer little. She's no longer "en caul", protecting her from the noise and the crazies on the green pong ball [yes, I like to play pong still]. I need to remember that,“Though she be but little, she is fierce!” and she's a Bonnet!

Happy Birthday my love bug.

Never change.

Never settle.

And always keep smiling... especially when dad has to take pictures to advertise.

Say cheese!