Man! I feel like I’m ready to write a book yet I’m just getting started in this journey of parenting. It is exactly fourteen months since I got this new title “Father or dad”. It has been nothing short of a roller-coaster.

It was the 22nd day of December, the year 2018 when baby Zane Mali took his first breath of air. The long wait was over. I remember vividly setting my eyes on him for the very first time. Words fail to describe how it felt. He was the most gorgeous thing I’d ever seen. As I stretched out my hands to hold him, in the literal sense, I felt the weight of fatherhood with all its responsibility fall upon my shoulders. It’s a feeling that has been embedded in my heart forever.

Expecting is such a rhetoric word when describing pregnancy especially for a first time father. Yes, on one end of the spectrum, I knew what to expect. But on the other hand there were so many things that I didn’t know what to expect. It didn’t matter how much advice I received from my daddy friends, or how many books I read. No one could prepare me enough for this new role.

Two days after he was born, we brought baby Mali home. We had everything in his room ready before his arrival. From the wall decals, to the warm carpet and even the thirty something year old baby cot that I had been working tirelessly to restore. It was the same cot and dressing table that my wife Nyamu used. What a priceless piece it is. We had discussed with Nyamu about him having his space right from day one. But this was not easy for me. My nurturing instincts had already checked in. it was daddy having separation anxiety. Clearly, that father bond did not take long to come. I remember sealing the windows and the air vents with tape. I was concerned that he would feel cold and no amount of convincing from my wife would calm me down. We had to move in to his room for a couple of days for me to finally accept that he will be okay.

Earlier in our marriage, I had decided to be the one to take care of baby during the night. It was part of my contribution to supporting my wife. This meant that I would give him his night time feeds, change his diapers and be there for him when he just wants to hang out in the middle of the night, because that’s just what they do. It sounds so romantic and thoughtful of a husband. But never in a million years did I think it would be this challenging. I waited for him to finally sleep through the night in vain. Imagine with me for a moment, having to wake up five to six times every night for a whole year. It was frustrating, tiring and downright exhausting. But as the months went by, I grew in patience and kindness. I learned how to love unconditionally and be there for my son even when it was most inconveniencing for me. I began to cherish those moments and the bond between us grew stronger. I began to ask God to make me the best father to my son. Every night before he goes to sleep, I sing for him about four to five tunes, then I pray for him and bless him with that special fatherly blessing. I have done this without fail for all the days that he has been in this world. I realize now that it is such a privilege to parent Mali. It’s such a great privilege to bless him and to lead him closer to God every single day. It was also a humbling realization to know that my son is my replacement. And because I want him to be better than me, He pushes me to become the best version of myself, so that one day, when he is all grown up, he can look back and say that I was a good example to him.

Through the sleepless nights, through the midnight hospital runs and those sick lousy days, I have learned that no matter how much I love this guy, I can never provide or protect him like God can. So I continually surrender him to God, trusting that he has the best plan for his life.

Children have a way of mellowing your heart. The biggest impact of fatherhood for me is the realization of how much having a child makes me vulnerable to the hurts of the world. When I see homeless children or children and their families suffering, it hits home because now I can relate. It is my prayer that I will live long enough to see this guy grow into that special person God has called him to be.



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