By Ayize Ma’at
I am the proud father of 4 children ages 9,7,5, & 4. In 2001 when Aiyana and I had our first child I had no idea that I’d arrive at a place where my family would be 6 deep. Truthfully, I can very vividly remember asking myself “What the hell did I get myself into?”, after bringing my first child home from the hospital. The 3 hour increments of sleep, the crying, and the doo doo filled diapers had me literally screaming. Again, “What the hell did I get myself into?” What’s funny is that prior to even having 1, Aiyana and I talked about having 5 children. And Yall, don’t go asking no questions or making no suggestions because i’m very, very, very comfortable with Fo’ (4) and No Mo’ (0).
As I look at who I am today as a father I can definitely say that I’ve grown in my understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a Dad. Indulge me for a moment as I share with you 7 simple things that I love about being “Baba”.
I love to listen to my children laugh. “You got the fart touch”. “Ill, your breath stinks.” These are a couple of the many phrases in my home that are usually followed by an eruption of laughter. When I watch my children laugh I see happiness. Happiness for me makes me feel like their spirits are full. Keep on laughing babies.
I love to watch my children sleep. For 16 hours out of the day they’re running, jumping, talking, yelling, crying, laughing, and every other “ing” you can think of. Capturing them in a moment of quietude, eyes closed, nestled in a blanket of serenity is priceless. When I watch my children sleep I see stillness. Keep sleeping babies.
I love walking behind my children and watching them. When i watch them walk in a row or in a cluster, I see order. I see a snapshot of sequence. I see probability. I see mathematics. I see reciprocity. I see cause and effect. I see the fruit from my seed. When I watch my children walk I see order and I smile. Keep walking babies.
I love taking showers with my 4 year old son. The other day I was taking a shower by my lonesome and my wife interrupted my solitude by sneaking up on me and placing my 4 year old son in the shower with me. I verbally resisted but when I looked down and saw my four year old looking up at me with water splashing on his face I couldn’t help but submit. While in the shower my son is looking at me…looking at himself…looking at me…and then looking at himself….and then looking at me and smiling. Right before the smile I saw curiosity and I loved it. Let’s take some more showers together son, because soon we won’t be able to take showers together anymore.
I love holding my children’s hands. Time stands still when I’m walking with my 9 year old son and we’re holding hands. That’s special to me. He’s not too cool that he doesn’t want to be seen with me and I’m still such a significant part of his life that he wants to be close to me. With his hand held in mine and my hand held in his there’s acceptance. There’s reassurance. There’s that “nothing else matters in the world” feeling. Children I look forward to forever holding your hands.
I love when my children say I love you. When they say I love you…they mean it. When my 7 year old daughter gives me kisses she’s saying “I love you”. When My 5 year old daughter cuddles with me she’s saying “I love you”. When my 4 year old son asks me to watch cartoons with him, he’s saying “I love you”. When my 9 year old son wrestles with me he’s saying “I love you”. As an expression of love our children have labeled Aiyana and I, “the best and the bomb”. When one of our children says, “Mommy’s the best and Baba is the bomb” one of our other children will yell out in protest, “No Baba’s the best and Mommy’s the bomb”. Trust and believe, I soak all of the adoration up. I love when my children say I love you. Our love is unconditional and will last for the rest of our lives.
I love to listen to my children’s heartbeat. Hearing their rhythm, feeling their vibration, being in tune with their pulse reminds me of the possibility of the human spirit. I hear life without limitation. When placing my ear on their chest I feel them, I smell them, and I hear them. I am one with them. I love listening to my children’s heartbeats. I’m determined to be in sync with that baseline for the rest of my life.
Ayize Ma’at is Co-founder and President of B Intentional, LLC, the Relationship Education company that owns and operates Blackloveandmarriage.com, the premiere cutting edge Marriage and Family web publication with the largest collection of love and marriage advice videos for African Americans. He is a Marriage & Relationship Educator certified in various Singles and Marriage Education curriculums and has a passion for inspiring others to grow and gain a deeper understanding of love. He is a devoted husband and the proud father of 4 amazing children.