Sharing Joys Of Fatherhood

None of them claims to be perfect, but each has had an interesting story that included pride, joy, and at times, sorrow and regret. I’m talking about fathers, of course. I have met many fathers over my 40 years working as a newspaper journalist. Most times, fatherhood is the only common denominator among their stories, but it is one of the most significant.

At the City-County Building in Wheeling, my job at times took me to the city police station where the news of the day involved some sort of crime. I always knew which of the officers and chiefs were fathers because of the way they spoke when crimes involved children. A lot of good officers have had to face down evildoers who have harmed children, and being fathers themselves puts an elevated perspective on their making sure it doesn’t happen again.

Down the street at the local fire station, dads are always thinking about safety. Firefighter dads often tape photos of their kids in their lockers, a daily reminder of why they want to come home safely after their 24-hour shifts. Father’s Day at firehouses is often full of small voices and laughter from children visiting daddies.

I have watched fatherhood play into the political arena. It’s not unusual to see children accompanying dads on campaign trails, held up as measures of each man’s character. Sometimes it works, but I’m not sure I ever voted for someone based on how cute his kids were.

Veterans and current military men are among the special fathers I have encountered. Their sacrifice to serve their country is multiplied when they have children waiting for them back home. Father’s Day in the military is bittersweet on both sides of those cards, letters, phone calls and face time.

Fatherhood, like motherhood, comes with highs and lows. Parenting is just about the hardest job we do and then we have to let go. For some dads, letting go is not by choice, but by fate, tragedy or illness. For any father who has lost a child, Father’s Day is a day much too long. Keep those dads in your prayers this weekend and offer them a needed hug.

On the other side of the spectrum are the brand new dads. One such new journalist father keeps us entertained with pictures and the latest antics of his infant son on Facebook. The newsroom also has been abuzz as various fathers have shared their children’s good deeds and accomplishments. Two newsroom dads have daughters who recently graduated from high school. It’s been a joy to see how their kids grew and achieved.

Fatherhood often comes with a bonus — grandchildren. Ask any grandpa about his grandkids and he will be quick to bring out the photos or tell you how many home runs his grandchild had on the ballfield.

Here’s hoping all you dads out there have a day to remember, in a good way.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@the intelligencer.net.

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