Last night, I sat on my bed folding laundry and taking a breather after a busy day.

Downstairs, my husband and a few buddies sat around the kitchen island exchanging stories and taking turns checking the steaks on the grill. Their voices echoed through the house, and I listened as I worked.

They were mostly talking about politics, hunting, and work, but I couldn’t help but notice the traces of fatherhood mixed into the conversation.

“You guys should’ve seen what my little man did the other day . . .” one friend started. The guys all laughed as he told them about his toddler’s wild antics.

Another stepped out of the conversation to greet the baby who had crawled up and wrapped her arms around his leg. “Whatcha doing, sweet girl?” he cooed as he scooped her into his arms.

A few minutes later, I heard yet another voice ask my middle son, “Is Chase your favorite pup on Paw Patrol? He’s mine.”

And then my husband’s own proud voice bragging: “This big guy here is getting pretty good at dribbling a basketball.” I could picture him tousling the hair of our oldest.

And gosh, I swear my heart melted into a puddle right then and there.

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We talk a lot about how drastically motherhood changes us, how it reaches deep into our hearts, shakes everything around, and spits us out wholly changed. The second a woman becomes a mom, she is never the same. We know this. That transformation is a beautiful thing.

But have you ever paid attention to the transformation of a man into a daddy?

It’s breathtaking.

Watching him give baths. 

And cook meals. 

And play peek-a-boo. 

And snuggle on the couch.

And wrestle on the floor.

And run errands. 

And tuck the kids into bed.

And step up to help in every way we never knew we needed.

The word incredible doesn’t even begin to cover it.

When I met my husband, I knew right away he had a big heart. I saw it in how he talked about his family and the way he treated me with kindness and respect. If you had asked me then, I wouldn’t have thought it possible for that heart to multiply 10 sizes.

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But sure enough, it has—and to say I feel lucky to have a front-row seat to the whole thing would be an understatement. 

To see his strong, calloused hands delicately shampooing the downy soft hair of a newborn while I watch from the delivery room bed.

To watch his tough exterior crumble into a big pile of mush when our baby girl flutters her eyelashes his way.

To hear the same voice that yells at the TV during Sunday Night Football changing pitch to get all of the characters in a bedtime story just right.

And to get to witness a guys’ night sprinkled with talk of baby sleep schedules and cartoon characters. 

It has surely been one of the greatest privileges of my life.

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Fatherhood unlocks the most sacred part of a man, of this I’m sure.

Because just when you think you couldn’t possibly love him more . . . he becomes a dad.

Casey Huff

Casey is a middle school teacher turned stay-at-home-mama to three littles. It's her mission as a writer to shine light on the beauty and chaos of life through the lenses of motherhood, marriage, and mental health. To read more, go hang out with Casey at: Facebook: Bouncing Forward Instagram: @bouncing_forward