First-time dads enjoying new role

June 20, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

TRI-STATE -- William Groves Jr. said he has been waiting a long time for his first Father's Day.

"It has been a complete joy," Groves said of his first 10 months as the father of Zachary Eston Wesley Groves, who was born Aug. 19, 2008.

People told Groves, 37, that having a child changes your life.

"But I never knew how much," the Harpers Ferry, W.Va., man said.

Groves said he and his wife, Lori, had been trying to have a child for a long time. Zachary's entrance into the family was the result of fertility treatments and a lot of hope, Groves said.

"Zachary is crawling and has been trying to stand up holding onto the sofa lately," Groves said.

Sometimes, Zachary seems to have his mother's eyes, but at other times, there is a strong resemblance to his father, Groves said.


"With a baseball hat on, he looks a lot like me," Groves said.

When he isn't working in Northern Virginia, Groves is happy at home with his wife and son.

"My wife probably has something planned for me for Father's Day, but she is keeping it a secret," Groves said. "Zachary isn't doing a lot of planning yet."

Christopher and Joey Macomber

"I just missed Father's Day last year, but I am really looking forward to this year's," said Christopher Macomber of Hagerstown.

Macomber and his wife of five years, Johanna, welcomed their first child, Joey Douglas, into the world June 22, 2008.

While no stranger to being around and caring for young children, Macomber said having his own child has had some unexpected effects on him.

"There are always surprises, but it has been a wonderful thing," Macomber said.

Macomber, 26, said he and his wife had tried to start a family earlier in their marriage. Joey was kind of a surprise, but a wonderful one, he said.

"It has given me more patience," Macomber said of his first year as a father.

Parenthood also has changed the way he and Johanna do things and has cut down on their ability to go out with friends. But he said they don't mind because they have been enjoying their time with their son.

Christopher and Johanna work for the Review and Herald Publishing Co. in Hagerstown.

Although he grew up in Hagerstown, Macomber said he and his wife were living in Tennessee when they learned she was going to have a baby. They returned to Hagerstown to be near family and friends.

The changes have been a sacrifice, but Macomber said they were made with no hesitation.

"I walk into a room and hear him say, 'Daddy.' Then, I lie down on the floor and he'll crawl on my back and try to hug me," Macomber said. "Now that is wonderful!"

Describing his wife as good at keeping secrets, Macomber said he has no idea what is planned for his Father's Day.

Clint and Will Barkdoll

Will Barkdoll is just shy of 5 months old, but his father said the child lights up and laughs when he walks into the room.

Clint Barkdoll, 35, said he and his wife, Amy, have been married 10 years. Will is their first child.

"It seems like both of us were in graduate school forever or trying to start our careers," Barkdoll said.

The trial attorney from Waynesboro, Pa., said he is enjoying fatherhood and tries to spend as much time as possible with his son, in the evenings and on weekends.

"I'm very involved ... changing and feeding him," he said.

As the family settles into a routine, Barkdoll said the sleepless nights are pretty much over. For that, he and Amy are thankful, he said.

"Will is wiggling a lot and turning over," Barkdoll said. "And he is trying to pull himself up."

The couple has incorporated their son into many of their plans since his birth in February, traveling with the boy on short trips and some longer ones.

Amy Barkdoll has taken time off from her position as an elementary school counselor in Pennsylvania to be a full-time mother.

"Will is getting his daddy some 'Daddy and Me' books and a photo album for Father's Day," she said.

The family will be celebrating the day at a barbecue at the home of Clint's father.

"As an attorney who does a lot of divorce and custody cases, I'm constantly amazed at how single parents do it," Barkdoll said.

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