￼ So it’s been a long long time since I last wrote..over a year..but I have a very good reason for taking a sabbatical..I became a father for the first time. Yes, if I’m really honest.I had planned to write this a while back..but I felt inexperienced, I felt like since I was still learning to be a father, writing about it will almost seem patronising. Even now.. I still feel like I’m not qualified to write this but heck..it’s my take on it…my experience.. So please forgive my naivety.
Like most young couples, my wife and I decided to try and enjoy life before finally settling down to have kids. So we spent our first couple of years of marriage traveling and spoiling ourselves silly..we bought expensive gifts for each other..and we had time to argue about everything and anything.. I don’t know exactly when we decided to have a baby but we felt like it was the next step further in our marriage. If I’m honest, it was mainly because my inlaws, my mum and great aunt were already on our case…asking questions like when is our grandson coming ?.. Are you guys having difficulty conceiving a child? The questions lingered. I think we just got tired of explaining ourselves… And in a moment of genius, we spontaneously decided that we were now ready to be parents.
Fast forward to the moment her water broke..I had just finished a few weeks of night shifts and was trying to catch up on my sleep to allign my bodyclock with the rest of the world when my son decided to make his grand entrance..He was 2 weeks early. I remember thinking that perhaps this was a false alarm..Maybe just maybe..a few more hours of sleep could suffice..i was already drifting again when my wife started screaming in pain.. her contractions had started.. then the adrenaline took over..
Fast forward to 12 hours later.. Our son was born..nothing prepared us for what was to follow..
I remember the first moments of his birth..I was excited.. Exhausted… Relieved…Paranoid and Disorientated. Yet, as I held him in my arms.. Close to my bare chest..I remember thinking that I would love and protect this child until the day I die. I called close family members and friends to share our joy. I was incoherent.. Later, some of those I spoke to told me that I sounded like I went through labour myself..my wife totally agrees to this.
Nature is amazing, the magic of childbirth as God intended it is frightening. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what my wife went through, labour without anaesthetic.. Yet even as a helpless bystander I felt all the different emotions of being human..from laughter to tears..fear to exhilaration. And in the end..a mysterious layer of love was unearthed within me.. More powerful than anything I’d ever felt before..a fathers love. Gentle but fierce..I mean I’ve only just met this little man..Yet I could die for him before I see any harm come to him..It suddenly dawned on me that I was responsible for a new human life..I felt unqualified..like i was an imposter in my own life.
I was so determined to make everything perfect..so I rushed home to tidy up our tiny flat before our new family member arrived..I hadn’t slept in over 24 hours.. I wasn’t thinking straight.. Oh my gawd..the room is not sterile.. The room temperature isn’t suitable.. We need to sterilise all the bottles..his baby clothes havn’t been ironed.. And I should have learnt how to strap the car seat..yes the car seat..oh my gawd!oh my goodness! Panic had set in.
It was in the middle of this confused and incoherent state that I began my journey into fatherhood. We didn’t know what the heck we were doing..I mean I stayed up all night just to make sure the baby was sleeping and breathing fine..I was convinced that he was too fragile to make it through the first few nights..And on too many occasions.. I fell asleep while we had guests in the living room waiting for me to come back from putting the baby to sleep..I went to the shop many times and forgot what it was I came to buy. But as time went on, I learnt to go with the flow..sleep when the baby sleeps.. Take one day at a time..Ultimately I learnt that the life of this child was not in my power..I started learning to trust God to look after our son rather than me thinking I was doing it all by mere human might.
Now bear in mind that as the man of the house, you’re expected to be calm and keep your cool even when all hell is breaking loose..I was the opposite. I investigated every rash..Google was my best friend.. And I called all my doctor friends to get expert advise.. I was so determined to make sure that no harm would come to my beloved son.
Looking back now, I am beginning to understand what it means to be a child in God’s eyes. That His love for is so fierce..and He would stop at nothing to see us comfortable.. That is why the Gospel says that if we being human and evil know how to give good gifts to our children.. How much more would our heavenly father who is all Holy without blemish give to us when we ask of Him… In another verse it goes on to ask which of us would our children ask for bread and we would give him or her a stone? I will go even further to say that fatherhood is the closest thing any human can experience to being like God.I mean,thats the one time we as humans share in the story of creation..bringing new life..nurturing it..and being responsible for the day to day upbringing of that new-born until they become independent.
Looking at my 13 month old toddler today brings a smile to my face…nothing prepared me for this love..his laughter ,smiles and the gibberish he mumbles punctuates my daily routine without fail..i play my part from the flanks..celebrating his every milestone as if he just won the world cup..He knows now to expect a clap or cheer everytime he gets down from the sofa unassisted. The same way i know that God is seated in the heavens and cheering my every small achievement..and He’s ever ready to lift me up when i fall.
Yes, it is the single hardest thing I’ve ever done..but it is also the most fulfilling..this experience is an ongoing process with many inherent lessons along the way..I havn’t even scratched the surface yet.