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New fathers celebrate Father's Day and reflect on the joy of becoming dads

ALEX THOMPSON: My name is Alex Thompson , and I became a dad six months ago.


That's Alex Thompson, the filmmaker we just heard about. Today is his first Father's Day. He says becoming a dad to Milo is part of the reason "Ghostlight" happened.

THOMPSON: Anticipating fatherhood was a motivation to make a movie in the first place. Because I think there's an assumption that once you become a parent, your life changes, and that is a correct assumption (laughter). But for me, having a son has further carved away all the stuff, all the noise that I just don't need. And I do more and I enjoy more in 10 minutes than I would in a 12-hour day.


JACK JOHNSON: (Singing) Well, your mama made a promise that your daddy's going to keep. Forever's how long your mama's going to love you. Daddy made you messy, and your mama made you neat. Forever's how long your daddy's going to love you.

ANDY COTTRELL: My name is Andy Cottrell. I'm the father of nine-month-old Alexander Cottrell.

FRAYER: It's also Cottrell's first Father's Day.

COTTRELL: I knew that my wife had always wanted to have a child. And so I was very excited that we were able to get pregnant, but I was utterly terrified because I never thought I would have a child. But I'm very happy that we had Zander.

FRAYER: Even though Cottrell is a self-described clean freak.

COTTRELL: The smells and the wets and everything that comes with it - I am surprised that I have not been grossed out more than I have been.

FRAYER: For Dave Bluhm, fatherhood came quickly.

DAVE BLUHM: My wife tells me, just so you know, like, I've been having some contractions, but I think they're the false Braxton-Hicks contractions. And it's a little uncommon to go into labor this early if it is your first kid.

FRAYER: They saw the doctor just in case, and - you guessed it. The contractions were real.

BLUHM: We don't have a car, so I - and we didn't assume that we'd be staying that long. We thought this was going to be, like, a send-us-back-home kind of trip. So I grabbed one of the, you know, Capital Bike Share rental bikes, pedaled as fast as I could back home to get our overnight bags, and then came back to the hospital.

FRAYER: And he made it. Harrison is healthy and happy. Today is Colton Canton's second Father's Day. Son Jake is a little over a year old, asleep on Canton's chest, as he recalls the gall it took to have him.

COLTON CANTON: Who did we think we are? We just brought this little tiny human into this world. And I just remember thinking, wow, baby, I really got to make sure that I do everything I can for you because you didn't ask to be here. You didn't ask to be here and now, it's my job to make sure that you're happy you came anyway. So, yeah, it's just that first moment, it was the first time where I felt truly responsible for something. Like, you know, now I'm his dad, and there is no one else who can be Dad but me.


JOHNSON: (Singing) You remind me of you. Yes, you do (vocalizing). Yes, you do.

FRAYER: And so, to all the dads out there, whether this is your first or your 40th, happy Father's Day, and that includes you, Jim Frayer. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Lauren Frayer covers India for NPR News. In June 2018, she opened a new NPR bureau in India's biggest city, its financial center, and the heart of Bollywood—Mumbai.