The joy of fatherhood

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Nearly 10 years have passed since a fuzzy image on a computer screen foretold a season of sleepless nights, bulky diaper bags, skinned knees and tea parties with teddy bears.

For a guy who dreaded the thought of becoming a dad before I met my wife, that first image of my daughter was second in beauty only to the woman who was carrying her.

I knew it meant closing the chapter of the book we had been writing up to that point, but only insomuch as a cold winter sheds the dead leaves to make way for the new growth the following spring. A new season of our life was approaching, and I could not have been happier.

I was ready to embrace fatherhood and all the firsts it would bring. The first tooth, the first “dada,” the first step, the first run, and, of course, the first fall.

Not all guys are as fortunate. Some become fathers before they are ready. Others believe they are ready, but doubt themselves when it’s the bottom on the ninth, the bases are loaded, and they can’t decide whether to hurl a fast ball or lob a changeup.

But the National Fatherhood Initiative can be your pitching coach, the organization that provides guidance to help you make the best decisions you can when crunch time comes. It also celebrates all that is good about being a father, and underlines the importance of the role.

No greater joy exists than hearing your children yell, “Daddy!” at the top of their lungs while they run into your arms when you pick them up from school, as though you hadn’t seen them in years even though you kissed them goodbye that morning. It’s the sound of a rainbow and the hug of an angel rolled into one.

The National Fatherhood Initiative encourages fathers to hear those rainbows and feel those angel hugs, and celebrates all the joys that come with being there for your children.

Click here to donate and support fathers around the country.

This is a repost of a blog post that appeared in The Father Factor on Dec. 21, 2010.

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