Friday, 6 July 2018

Birthday Letter 2018

Hi Baba,

This year, this year is special.

This year, your birthday gift is more than this letter.

This year I gave you a grandson. Laith.

He was born the 28th of May, (ten years and ten months to the day you left) and it was love at first sight for me, for Louis, for everyone who laid eyes on him actually.

In the few hours after his birth, when we finally decided on his name, (we were teetering between Yazan and Laith) I sat in the hospital bed holding him in my arms, lost in his soft featured face, and I heard you say his name, in a happy voice, welcoming him: "Laith! Laith!" and I knew I'd made the right choice, and I knew that you could see him.

In the months leading up to his birth, I wondered how you'd be as a grandfather, I missed you, and thought of my child missing out on you. And to be honest, after a while, I had to stop thinking of you that way, missing out. It made me very sad, not only because it would never happen, but because I couldn't even imagine it. Every way I tried to, it didn't feel like I got it right. How could I anyway? The closest reference is how you were a father to me, but then again, grandkids are different...
In fact I don't think I remember you around small children..

The only thing I can imagine is the amount of love you would have had for him, that you have for him.

I imagine you in your stillness with him. Almost meditative, not really paying attention to anyone else but him. Perhaps you'd bring the harmonica out of retirement? Perhaps history could have repeated itself?

Now begins the long road of being a mother, and all that entails of challenges and questions that really no one has the answer to. Already the challenges have begun in his five weeks of life, between sleeping (or the lack there of) and breastfeeding, and managing life around this creature that existed and became the gravitational centre of us all.

Except you, and that saddens me, breaks my heart completely.

The closest I can get him to you, is through me, through photos, and videos, and talking about you, and telling him all I know, all I remember.
I can't tell if I look forward to that, or dread it.
I would look forward to him knowing you, to keeping you there with us, to pass on your light and your song to him.
But I dread facing all of it too. What if I don't remember enough? What if my sadness stains it? What if I don't do you and your memories the justice they deserve?
And most terrifying of all, what if it isn't enough?

A question I, sadly, already know the answer to.
It will never be enough.

But it will have to do.

This letter shouldn't be sad, we have Laith! You have Laith! A little lion with boundless potential and promise!
So I'll try and end on a better note.
I'll end by saying, you'll be there all the time. At his first birthday, at his first Christmas, the first time he trips and scrapes his knee and cries out for comfort.
You'll be there for every candle blown, every bedtime story told, every family photo,  every "first", every teenage outburst, every graduation, every everything.
Every milestone, minute, second of Laith's life, you will be there, as long as I breathe.

Because you are with me.

And he may not know it yet, he might never really truly know it, but he is as lucky as he can be to have you.

Happy birthday Baba.


Bint Mohamad, Em Laith.

Birthday Letter 2017

Birthday Letter 2016
Birthday Letter 2015


1 comment:

Nsrn srks said...

I feel every word you’ve written. I wish I had your faith that he is there, that he can see him, that telling my son about him will actually make a difference. Thank you for putting these feelings into words.