An open letter to the man I birthed
Last year, I entered the world’s finest and most respected club – motherhood. From then till now, my life has been a real rollercoaster ride. I never imagined my life as a nappy-changing, breastfeeding mother, but doing all this just made me more complete than ever.
“Mubarak ho, beta hua hai!”
(Congratulations, it’s a son!)
Every face around you, from the Dadi to the Nani, glows with the reassurance that yes, you did the right thing. And I always wanted a boy myself, not because I love girls any less, but because I wanted to raise a son to teach him a good lesson.
So dear son, the day has finally arrived where I can tell you this. I have been waiting for this day all my life and I sit here penning my thoughts down while staring at your angelic face. You are turning one tomorrow and I want the best for you. I want to give you hope in life, I want you to achieve dreams that will help you grow into a better person, dreams that will guide you out of this muddles life.
First and foremost, I want you to know that your presence is the best gift I have ever been given. Never before have I felt this fragile and strong at the same time.
Growing up, you will meet numerous people that you want to erase from your life. There will be countless events that you’d rather forget, moments when you want to cry your heart out. I want to tell you this son, cry when you want to cry because a real man cries when he feels lost in life, and I want you to be a real man. Society may tell you that real men are not emotionally vulnerable, but don’t let them fool you – it takes guts to reveal your emotions. What you shouldn’t do is be the reason for someone else’s tears, never act rigid when it comes to accepting your own mistakes; accepting faults and apologising will only make you stronger and keep you from making the same mistakes again. Know that there is nothing out there that an apology cannot fix. So always acknowledge apologies and never hold a grudge.
In this fast-paced world, empathy is a word that few know. This world is densely populated with people but only a few are human in the true essence of the word, and I want you to stand apart from them. Always stand up for what you believe is right; help others and be humble.
Life is a chaotic mess, and it will teach you how to compete and win. I want you to learn how to stop and look out for others; don’t ever get ahead in life by stepping over someone else’s heart or dream. If you want to win something, win hearts and rule them because nothing will make you feel more content than this.
If you go through the list of the most successful men on earth, you will see that they are the ones who respected women. So if you really want to succeed, deference your female friends, colleague and family members. The world today is striving hard to prove that men and women are equal but I want you to know that they are not. Women are way higher than men; you can never compare them with any human being, after all, your heaven lies under your mother’s feet.
Always respect women and treat them like you want your sister to be treated; never demean them, no matter how bad the situation may seem. I will be the happiest person if you turned out to be even half the man your father is. Be a gentleman in this world that uses prejudices to describe masculinity. Always remember that our family is our world, and we have no place for prejudices.
The best men are those who treat their wives like queens. You are just one-year-old and I have dreamt your married life already. Be genuine to your wife; make her the queen of your house and her value should not be any less than your mother’s as she will be the mother of your children one day.
Honey, your mother bore a lot of pan bringing you into this world. It was a traumatic and painful experience but also the most exciting hour of my life. Remember this when your wife is giving birth. Her sufferings will be same as your mother’s, so never treat her any less. I never want you to do any injustice to her in the name of manliness; rather, I will be happy if you conquer her with your brilliance and love.
They say that the only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing, always remember this, especially when you feel like your knowledge in infinite. Success comes to those who keep their feet firm on the ground. The harsh reality of our society is that it is very judgmental, not everyone might be but there is a majority of people that judge others based on their attire, qualifications, choices or knowledge. Well, my boy, I am here to tell you that this should not matter to you. Judging others won’t only hurt them but it will also tarnish your own self-esteem, it is a vicious cycle. Always try to stay away from this plague as it will only narrow your view about the world and will stop you from appreciating the diversities of it.
Since you came into my life, I have changed. I have started reading and learning to understand the Holy Quran regularly, and I want to thank you for that. I have been reciting Quranic verses not because I want to make a religious scholar or a rhetoric cleric out of you, but because I want you to be a practicing Muslim. I want you to set an example for others – show that a man does not need a beard to follow the teachings of Islam; he just needs to be brought up well. Remember, only a good Muslim can fulfil the wishes I have for you.
Son, I have made many mistakes in my life when it comes to religion and I do not want you to repeat them. I know you’d like to learn from your mistakes, I’d love to give you that leverage, but when it comes to this, I want you to accept my experience and grow from it.
One thing that makes me extremely happy and sad at the same time is your existence. I know that there is one guy on earth that will always say I am right, no matter how wrong I am.
So Happy Birthday, sweetheart! May you grow up and be just how mommy envisions you to be.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.