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Fatherhood: That unique blend of fear, guilt — and love from the heart

June 16, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL

Staff Writer

It's a heart thing, because you suddenly realize you love someone more than you've loved anyone else.

It's a fear thing, because you're more vulnerable to your child than to anyone else.

It's a guilt thing, because parents are only human but that doesn't make you feel any better.

It's fatherhood, and the feelings are felt by biological fathers, stepfathers and even single mothers who have to also function as fathers.

"I was very nervous when I first became a father," Imperial resident Gerardo Antonio said.

The 29-year-old was playing with his daughters, Cami, 10, and Bianca, 3, at Bucklin Park in El Centro on Friday evening.

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Antonio said fatherhood is a blessing but there are challenges such as the fact that he and his wife, Tina, work. Working outside the home makes it difficult to spend as much time as they would like with their daughters.

But even with challenges, Antonio said fatherhood is great. He said he would even like to try for another child, maybe a son.

"My wife is more patient with them and I'm stricter," Antonio said.

Children see mothers and fathers differently but love them both and that was the inspiration behind Father's Day.

Father's Day is said to have started in 1909 when Sonora Dodd, of Spokane, Wash., asked her church minister to conduct a service dedicated to fathers after recognizing the sacrifices her own father made for his children.

Dodd's father, William Smart, raised his children on his own after his wife died in childbirth with the sixth. Smart raised the children on a rural farm in eastern Washington.

Father's Day was soon celebrated across the nation. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson declared the third Sunday in June as Father's Day.

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or .

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