There's a programme we watch, it's not important wich one. But there was an episode where one character once said to another something to the effect of, "you've always been a 'Dad', you just don't have any kids."
They had picked out certain characteristics that equate to 'Dadness'--bad puns, long lectures on proper behavior, general squareness--both good and bad but they equated to a general list of qualities and quirks that when taken together tend to be thought of as fatherliness. Having procreated, somehow didn't figure in as important.
I have to say, I tend to agree.
Hubby was a 'Dad' long before Sasha came around. He had all those qualities, quirks, and affectations. The way he wished to spend his days off--building snowfort and treehouses, shuttling kids to soccer games--were only normal pursuits if you had kids. He was basically a Dad waiting for his family. And I know there are plenty of other men who fall in this camp. It's just who they are.
I saw him this weekend with his new little neice, cradling her back to sleep with ease while correcting his too-wild little boy and wondered at the ease with wich he does it.
Lucky are we who have men like this as fathers for our children.