02 Jun 3 Months As Ali’s Daddy
2016 has been full of adventures. February 29 (leap day) my baby boy Ali was born. He arrived a month early. It was a crazy night full of emergency surgery and a lot of worry. But at the end of the night, my wife was in good health and my baby boy was here. He was magnificent. God is great.
I chose the name Ali for my son. After learning about Ali Ibn Abi Talib while reading about the history of Islam, I felt so much love for the characteristics that Ali is recorded to have exemplified. I often felt that my name was very impactful on who I am, and thought long about whether this was the name that my son could wear with confidence. When the time finally came to name him, I chose Ali Ibrahim Husain. I see the name Ibrahim as a great unifier, the father of all of the Abrahamic religions. It’s always been the name I identified with the most (which may sound strange until you learn I have 4 names). I wanted my son to feel the impact of his name, to remember the character of the men, and to work hard and live a disciplined life to try to exemplify the same characteristics that I chose the names for. Ali Ibrahim Husain is the name I chose on the basis of honor, dignity, patience, faith, and obedience to God. I pray that God is pleased with my son’s name.
One thing I often wondered during the pregnancy was what Ali would look like. Would he look like me? Would he be lighter skinned like me, or darker like his mommy? Would he have fine, straight hair like mine, or thicker, curly hair like mommy? When I looked at him, would I recognize him? When I first met him him, would the love I feel be strange and new or strangely familiar?
All of those questions were answered the first second I saw him. He was my son. He looked exactly like me. His demeanor as a brand new human being was already just like mine. He was easygoing like dad, and took everything in stride. He was a month early, so he spent time in the ICU, but he was unphased by it all. He spent his time sleeping and when he was awake he just soaked it all in, and was attentive to everything around him. He wasn’t even supposed to be here yet, but his curiosity was already astounding.
The first day we brought him home I learned about what it’s like to worry as a parent. I now realize that you can’t understand it until you experience it. I took him straight home from the hospital, and didn’t want to deviate from the route. When we got him home, I didn’t want to take him out again for a while. I wanted him to just be safe and sound at home. He was so fragile, and I was responsible for his safety and well-being. It was a while before I became comfortable with taking him out into the world.
One of the most interesting parts of becoming a parent is what it does to not just your perspective on life and responsibility, but your station in life as well. Being a parent, in any stage of life, is wild. I’ve only been a parent for 3 months, and I already feel like my entire life up until he was born (31 years) was a prequel. It’s not that everything before Ali wasn’t important or impactful, but I remember the last 3 months of my life as if they were my entire life. It’s a really strange feeling.
Farah and I were woefully unprepared to be parents. One example: we brought Ali home and didn’t own a bottle. We assumed that since Farah planned to breastfeed, we didn’t need bottles. Plus, we thought we had an extra month to get ready. Since he was early, we were caught unprepared. It seems hilarious to me now, but we really didn’t know what we were doing.
Luckily, we have a great supporting cast, with both of our entire families here in Houston. We have grandparents to babysit, siblings on both sides who are already parents to help and give advice, and an entire community very involved and focused on the well being of our little boy. We’re very blessed to have all of this support and we are thankful.
Now Ali is 3 months old. While he’s still a little lightweight for his age (fine when adjusted for his premature arrival) he seems very chunky to us. He smiles and coos at us. He loves to be sang to and seems to have a sense of humor. He’s rarely fussy and never difficult. Ali loves his swing, he falls asleep every time we get in the car, and he really likes to be held by pretty much everyone around. He’s a little charmer.
I love to spend time with Ali. I sit him in my lap while I’m at the computer. I sit with him and watch Arthur. I ad-lib songs and sing to him constantly. I whistle to him, which he seems to like. I wake up with him at night, change diapers, feed him, cuddle him, and do pretty much anything he needs to be happy. I also gave him his first few haircuts. He’s currently rocking a mohawk, which I really love.
This is going to be a long ride. I won’t always be able to solve every problem. He’ll scrape his knee, he’ll do things wrong, he’ll require discipline, and there will even be times when he directs his own anger and frustration at me. It won’t always be easy. But this journey that I’ve embarked upon is already the greatest adventure of my life.
I’m Ali’s dad, and there is no job more satisfying on this earth!
Note: If it seems like I rambled and changed topics often, it’s because I just wrote as I thought of things, and was interrupted by my sweet little baby needing my attention. Thanks for bearing with me.