My nephew Muraad had a baby on Saturday. His daughter, Najimah which mean "radiant", "brilliant" in Arabic was born two month premature. I told him, "That just gives you two additional months in her life". More time to get to know her, love her. After I spoke to him via Facetime and saw the baby, a thought crossed my mind. His mother, my sister Jamilah who passed away almost three years ago would have loved this moment. She would have loved Najimah. She would have been so loud about it! I could hear her now exclaiming, "This is my baby!" "Don't call me grandma!" Call me Grandma J, or Mama J or some other name with a twist. She would say all the things that a new father would need to build his confidence. She would fill in the gap where things are missing. If Jamilah was around, everything would be O.K..
A lot of the times when we talk about fatherhood, we talk about the importance of young fathers having had a role model, a man to pattern their fatherhood off of. We preach the importance of fathers for boys and speak about how needed men are in the lives of their children. I agree with what we preach but today, my nephew would have really benefited from a cheerleader. He would have been lifted up in a unique way (that not many fathers have the capability to do) if his mother was here. Motherly love is something else! With my sister in mind, I am going to try to muster more energy the next time I speak to him. The journey of fatherhood and relationships have their ups and downs, twist and turns; maybe I can be a erratic fan...a uncle that cheers even when our team is down. Maybe I can believe and support him in a unique way, far beyond my normal demeanor; like his mom would. Unconditionally, at least until he gets his footing and feels the strength of being responsible for another human being that he helped bring into this world. I can do that. GO MURAAD!