There are hardly no other pursuit I have found more gratifying than being a father.. Fatherhood doesn't take place in a paragraph. It is a lifelong experience. From calling the adhan in the ear, to feeding them their first solid food, to teaching them how to poop on their own, and how to use istinjaa, to the first time they pray with you, to mending that first cut, to your heart stopping at the first fall and every thumping fall thereafter.
Fatherhood is teaching them that fire is hot, to brush your teeth, and how to put things in the trash. It’s stop jumping on the bed, wash your hands, and look both ways before you cross the street. It’s buying that shiny red tricycle and taking out if the trunk of your car. It’s taking the training wheels off that first two wheeler, and teaching your daughters how to drive sitting on phone books so they can see over the steering wheel. All that has been a part of my fatherhood experience thus far.
Fatherhood is rushing not to be late for Eid prayer, buying Eid presents for your kids, and taking them to the masjid for Eid prayer or Jum’ah. It’s your children running around your feet while you deliver a sermon, that first Fatiha they recited on their own, and family Ramadans.
It’s fast food when everyone is too tired to cook, colds, fevers, and flus, and wiping a runny nose with your undershirt. Fatherhood is bedtime stories, puppets, baths, and finding clean pajamas. It’s doing laundry, taking pictures at kindergarten, talking to the school dietician about pepperoni being pork, a
Saving awards, and report cards, and being a proud dad. It’s carrying them on your back, their first roller skates, and a bunch of money spent on toys they hardly play with. It’s collections of outgrown clothing, growing feet and legs, and expensive baby shoes
Fatherhood is more than dollars and cents, or child support payments. It’s protecting your kids, guarding your daughters until marriage and afterwards, and seeing behind your back. It’s doctors appointments, that first needle, cavities, and that first dental visit.
Its you kids wearing glasses, and braces, and parent-teacher meetings. Its the school nurse calling you because your daughter got a tummy ache, or the vice principal calling to tell you your son got suspended for fighting. It’s honor rolls, science projects, attending graduations and checking homework.
Fatherhood is being present at all your children’s births and seeing your sons as men and your daughters as women. It’s calling your oddest son on his fortieth birthday and having your longest conversation with him. Fatherhood is scrutinizing suitors, prioritizing phone calls, performing a son’s or daughter’s marriage, and attending your grandchild’s aqeeqah.
All this is just a part of being a father to me, and for others with similar experiences. Some men miss fatherhood. Some are cheated out of it.
At any rate, fatherhood is at a premium these days, and is under attack in Black Muslim America. Fathers removed from the home, may be one of the most vitally important issues of our time, It impacts a great deal. More than we know. We must work to restore fathers and fatherhood to their rightful places. Fatherhood for all.. Ameen.
Imam Luqman Ahmad. Imamabulaith@yahoo.com