Being A Father!
His hands were shaking from within but he kept them firm. He did not want her to slip, twist a small muscle, did she even have muscles, he thought. He was in a completely overprotective and defensive mood, but hey!, to be fair - he was holding a newborn baby for the first time. And this baby was his. He did not know how to feel.
Just a few minutes ago, he had seen his baby come into this world. That visual scared him. Not the medical aspect of it, but the future that was attached to it. That moment had made him father - officially. That moment for which he awaited for over eight and a half months, which he prepared for, for which he even wore his favourite t-shirt. But now that moment was here, his brain and heart seemed to have stopped the thought creation process. All the preparations he made were lost somewhere. After a few seconds, or a few minutes, he did not know, he could feel tears rolling down his cheeks. His ears, that went deaf for the last few minutes, could hear his baby crying, nurses and doctors congratulating his wife.
His baby was now becoming aware of her surroundings. She was resting on his bare chest. It was important for her to feel his warmth. Her body temperature needed adjusting. The nurse who confidently handed her to him, without checking if he was ready, had emphasized on this significantly. His brain had registered the fact, though he did not remember the actual words. This was the first step he would take in protecting her from the surroundings.
As the minutes passed, she started opening her eyes. With her legs still crawled up, hands folded over her stomach, she looked up to her support. His eyes met her for the first time. Fear and happiness were racing through his heart. He was not able to understand which one was winning. He looked at her face. Probably at that moment, fear and happiness shook hands and became one - responsibility.
He felt like a father now.
Happiness, fear, anxiety and responsibility were still lingering and popping up one after the other. He was getting worried about insignificant things. Would he be able to change her diaper? What was the optimum grip on her back? Would his beard hurt her cheeks? Were his hands clean enough? Were his nails blunt enough?
At the same time, he knew he had created a protective bubble around her. At one point, even his wife taunted him because he was not letting his wife come too close. He realized his obsession and he shared a laugh with his wife.
Now that a few days, a few months have passed. He has received blessings from everyone possible. He has even received rules and guidelines. Still sometimes, he is lost on the definition of “Father.”
So today he asked the definition of “being a Father” to the person he knew would know the answer.
31 years ago
It was now a few hours since he heard the news about his son being born. He was taking the doctor’s word that his wife and son were doing well. He knew his whole family was here. His anxiety was growing. He wanted to go to his wife, check for himself if she was really okay. He wanted to see his son. Though not sure if he was ready to hold him, yet, his urge to do that was unbearable. Asking around to visit his wife and son in the ICU would be somehow seen as a sign of desperation or even cowardice. It would be hours before he could feel like a father.
He pondered over the question his son had asked. The last 31 years of his life flashed before his eyes.
He simply answered, “Just make sure she has your full attention. Just make sure she is healthy and smiling as much as possible. Treat her with all the love you have in you. The best protection you could provide her would be preparing her for all the shortcomings of the world. Be present with her mentally all the time. And that would give you the definition of being the Father.”
Happy Father’s Day!