Father time: Local dads share common bonds of love and fulfillment
Anesthesiologist Jacob Rothfork, 43, of Corrales spent the day watching his two children Cozmo, 6, and Isis, 10, scramble up the vertical wall at Stone Age Climbing Gym, a place they visit often for fun and exercise. Although the rock climbing, even indoors, can be challenge, if his kids practice and learn proper technique they can be safe. “It’s dangerous, if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s a tough sport, but it makes you tough.” He spends as much time with his family as possible. “I love to see them grow up. I love to share experiences with them.” (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)
Gerardo Rios, 25, on leave from the U.S. Army, played with his son, also Gerardo, 6, at Kit Carson Park. Rios says he lost his dad when he was very young, so it makes his bond with his son even more important to him. Although he’s stationed in Colorado, “I spend as much time with him as I can.” (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)
Long summer days mean that Jose Rivas, 32, can spend more time fishing with his three children, Michelle, 14, right; Bruce, 7, top; and June, 4. “We get to do a lot of interesting things together: play soccer, come to Tingley and go to the movies.” Rivas, who works for Coca-Cola, says his childhood was spent moving from one place to another, so having a home in Albuquerque with his kids is important to him. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)
Retired police officer Richard Dilley, 58, says coaching his four children in sports has been one of the best parts of fatherhood. “I don’t know that we would spend this kind of time. It’s one way we connect.” Dilley was pitching florescent softballs to his daughter, Alyssa, 15, who plays second base for Volcano Vista High School and a softball club. In her top batter form, Alyssa listened attentively to her father, before pinging the balls off her aluminum bat one afternoon at Mariposa Basin Park. “I don’t just like softball. I love it. I get to be myself.” (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)
Julian Nuñez, 29, who works at a nearby rent-to-own center, says he will soon be blessed with his fifth child. He and his children were playing at Kit Carson Park with their cousins. “Every child is a blessing,” he says. Here he appears with, from left, Sharrell, 9; Julian, 7; Joel, 4; and Jeremiah, 3. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)
Khalil Zamir of Albuquerque plays at Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum with his three children, Bariah, 12, Leyla, 10, and Khalil Jr., 9. Zamir, a firefighter, says his favorite aspect of fatherhood is watching his children grow. Their favorite activities together include water fights, jumping on trampolines, soccer, fishing and camping. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)
Ruben Rodriguez Sr., right, chats with his son, Ruben Jr., at the West Mesa Aquatic Center, while his grandchildren play. The older Rodriguez says his retirement means more time to spend with his family, which is the best part of being a dad. “It’s the best time. Spending time with them means everything to me.” (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)
Charles Hackett, 24, says being a young dad to his adopted children, Nicholas Boesiger, 2, and Aiden Boesiger, 7, means he can indulge in fun activities he may have missed growing up as a foster child. “I have fun with my kids.” One recent afternoon on Tingley Beach was about watching the geese gobble up bread crumbs. “I grew up away from my mom and dad, so I learned from what they didn’t do. But things happen for a reason. I love taking care of my kids.” (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)
Shane Stanford, father of 6-month-old Breana and Briley, 4, poses for a photo outside Explora: “We are constantly at the museums and the zoo. We spend a lot of time outside,” he says. Stanford, who owns a marketing and event planning company, says fatherhood “took me from being a wild young person into being a family man.” (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)
Matthew Haynes of Colorado Springs, a pilot, flew his kids, Gabe, 12, and Kortney, 10, with him to Albuquerque to do some airplane maintenance work, but spent some time at Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum first. “You never understand how much you can love until you have kids. Becoming a dad is the most fulfilling thing.” (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)
Although family dynamics have changed over the generations with more single-parent families and more fathers as primary caregivers, the father-and-child bond remains the same.
When a Journal photographer and reporter talked to dads engaged in activities with their children and asked them what fatherhood meant to them, you could hear echoes of fathers everywhere.
Fathers around Albuquerque find loving their children is one of the best bonds ever, an unexpected treasure.
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