As the two play and laugh, it's clear that Patrick Ford shares a close bond with his 22-month-old son.
"Every time I say, 'I love you,' he'll say 'dada mmm,' Patrick Ford said about his son, Will. "We think that's how he tries to say 'I love you.' "
Will, who has been blind since birth, was diagnosed with optic nerve hypoplasia when he was just a few months old. He recently underwent a procedure in China in which stem cells were used in an effort to restore his optic nerves.
The Fords returned home about a month ago and doctors said the nerves should start growing in six to nine months, said Ashley Ford, his mother.
She said they probably won't know the extent of his sight until he is able to speak.
So far, the procedure has improved Will's condition to some degree, she said, noting that he is not only more mobile, but he also looks around more and his eyes focus better.
That gives Will more opportunities to walk through the house and explore, and play with his dad.
"He'd rather have his daddy than me," Ashley Ford said. "He is a daddy's boy."
After a long day at work, Patrick Ford looks forward to family time.
"I love them to death," he said, "especially when you get home knowing that he (Will) can't see, but when I can come in the door, he can hear me."
Though his work hours vary, Ford recently started working 12-hour shifts in the wood yard at Augusta Newsprint Co.
When he's not working, Patrick Ford loves spending time with 8-year-old Natalie Harsey and 6-year-old Brent Harsey, his wife's children from a previous marriage.
"I love them to death," he said.
"I like being outdoors with them," he said, adding that he and Brent hunt and fish together.
"But I don't want to make myself sound like super-dad," he said with a smile.
Ashley Ford, however, is less modest. "It's hard for another man to treat kids like they're his own, and he does," she said.
"And then with Will, he's just great," she added. "He'll take him and go do stuff. You don't even have to ask him."
Ford said he faces some challenges as a parent, but he doesn't feel he's had to make any sacrifices.
"You just got to deal with the cards you're dealt and make the best of it," he said. "He's (Will) going to be fine either way -- seeing or not seeing."
If the Fords continue to see improvements in Will's condition, they will go back to China in nine months.
Though the Fords don't have any specific Father's Day plans, they intend to spend the day together.
If Ford could choose the ultimate Father's Day gift, he knows what he would want.
"I'm sure it would be for him to see," he said. "That's all I would want."
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