The list of things that new fathers have to look forward to is practically never-ending. There are first steps to be taken, fishing trips to be had, lessons to be handed down and countless memories to be made.
On Sunday, which is Father's Day, it's bound to be a special time for three area fathers who are looking forward to all of that and more as they dive into new or impending fatherhood.
One has a new child after suffering the tragic loss of his first, one struggled for years to become a father and another is set to experience all the firsts of having a child in just weeks.
Brian Hall catches his son Nathaniel after throwing him into the air Friday while playing at Belpre Civitan Park. Nathaniel, who was adopted as a newborn more than four years ago, prayed for a little brother around Christmas and the Halls are now expecting their first biological child in September.
JASMINE ROGERS The Marietta Times
The Hall Family
All 4-year-old Nathaniel Hall, of Little Hocking, really wanted for Christmas was a baby brother. He begged and pleaded and hatched schemes to simply ask for someone else's baby, recalled Nathaniel's mother Nerissa, 36.
But unfortunately, a baby just did not seem to be in the cards for Brian and Nerissa Hall, who set aside the dream of having biological children more than four years ago, just before adopting Nathaniel.
"You know, we have Nathaniel. And if he's all we ever had, that's fine. He's great," said Brian, 37.
But Nathaniel would not take no for an answer.
"We just told him, you can say a prayer about this. But we can't make a brother happen for you. He prayed that night and within that month I was pregnant," said Nerissa, who teaches at Little Hocking Elementary School.
Now Brian, who works security at a local plant and coaches junior high basketball at Little Hocking, is preparing to become a father all over again.
"I'm just looking forward to all the little things. Helping them to eat, teaching them to tie their shoes and just showing them love and how a family works," he said.
And the new baby will almost certainly get to enjoy Nathaniel's favorite thing to do with dad.
"He plays sports and cards with me," said Nathaniel.
The new addition is due in September, about a month before his fifth birthday, or as Nathaniel puts it, "after I finish my swimming lessons."
The Nichols Family
This will be David Nichols' first Father's Day with 5-month-old son Aceynn.
David, 32, and wife Traci, of Waterford, are looking forward to many things about raising Aceynn, but most of all they are excited to teach him all about his fantastic 6-year-old sister Ava, who lost her battle to cancer in March 2012.
"I look forward just to telling him how many people rallied around her and the fight she put up. I just sort of want him to have those same values as she had. And for him to earn everybody's respect and be polite," said David.
There are a lot of highlights in the Nichols' near future.
"I'm ready for him to start talking and walking. I'm excited for him to get old enough to start playing sports," said David.
Fatherhood means being ready to take on a lot of responsibility, he noted.
"It means making sure you can give everything possible to keep them happy because no matter what, he's going to keep me happy," he said.
And with any luck, added Nichols, Aceynn will have another little sibling to run around with within the next couple of years.
The McGilton Family
When Jared McGilton, 28, learned in December that he was going to become a father, the excitement was instant.
"There's no real nervousness. I'm just very excited for the fun years coming up," said McGilton of the baby girl he and wife Kelly, of Marietta, are expecting in about 10 weeks.
McGilton is already a father to his 11-year-old stepson "who is amazing," and is now looking forward to taking on that role with a little girl.
"I'm excited to buy her first little Barbie fishing pole and take her out fishing. And on the same note, I can't wait to be there when she harvests her first deer if she's into that sort of thing," he said.
Fatherhood means taking your children's feelings into account and still being able to instill the discipline and values that are important, said McGilton.
Kelly already has taken care of Jared's Father's Day gift. Two weeks ago she sent him on a fishing trip to Canada.
Now the baby's room is painted, the crib is set up, the dresser and closet are full of clothes and all that is left is to wait for baby.
"I don't think you can ever be ready enough for a newborn. I'm as ready as ready can be," he said.