Last October 25th the first winter storm of the season had rolled in; a little earlier than normal. It was cold enough for the snow to stick and we were all excited about the changing seasons. I took a panoramic photo of the neighborhood so Mitch could see how ominous the storm looked. He loved weather…

Today I stumbled across these photos I took on my birthday last year, and when I saw them, I just wept.

I loved then, and even more today, the humble, heart-felt birthday card Mitch wrote me last year. He was so sweet about it. I'll never forget how he handed it to me with a shy smile and eager eyes anxious to see my reaction. I remember kneeling down and reading it, then looking him in the eye, thanking him and then giving him the biggest hug. I wanted him to know what he did was awesome and that I appreciated it very much. 

As a child I never understood why on my mom’s birthday she would say “just make something for me.” I always thought the best presents had the best wrappers and cost a lot of money. As I have grown older and had children of my own I have come to understand why she said what she said. 

I would sooner have a heart-felt, hand-written note from any of my children than the most expensive gift money can buy. In the end, our children are the greatest gifts. And what our children offer is far greater than anything the world, with all its tinsel, has to offer. 

I love being a father. I hurt being a father. And sometimes I am scared being a father. But in the end, I wouldn't trade my life for anything. 

Later that cold evening my kids lit candles on a pumpkin pie (far better than any cake in my opinion). And while their gifts to me were sweet and thoughtful, the greatest gifts were ones money cannot buy. Their gift to me was themselves. I couldn't have been more blessed on that day. 

To be their father meant I was, and remain, the richest man on earth. For the gifts that make us truly rich have nothing at all to do with money.