Ever since we found out in October 2020 that Sabrina and Afzal were having a baby, our hearts swelled and we felt a joy that was so immense, so powerful, that it felt it would eat us up. A few days later, we got a call from Shayne and Cherrelle who live in Nairobi, with the news that they are also expecting a baby. Our hearts expanded exponentially as we contemplated becoming grandparents, twice over, in a single month.
Fast forward to June 9, 2021, when we warmly welcomed Mos Malik, Shayne and Cherrelle’s baby. And on June 28, Amaal Noor, Sabrina and Afzal’s baby, made her debut into the world. Both babies, born in love beyond words. We are still in the haze of the newborn phase. Seeing Amaal practically every day, and finally meeting Mos face-to-face as he made the long trek to Toronto from Kenya with his parents in August, has given our lives a new purpose. We are wildly in love with our grandchildren who have turned our lives upside down.
Everything is so different from when we had babies some 30 years ago. Now its about the huckleberry app to track feeding time, strollers that transform into car seats, electric breast pumps, the Baby Bjorn to rock the baby, bassinets that emulate the sound of the mom’s womb, Facebook Marketplace to source everything baby. Our vocabulary has increased a thousand-fold as we learn new words like nipple trauma, swaddling, cluster feeding, the breast friend, tummy time and white noise.
We witness our children cope with exhaustion, sleep, hormones, feeding, pumping, and celebrate with them as they perceive the wonder of what they have conceived. We listen with amazement as they talk to each other about the parents they aspire to be and their hopes for their little Timbits, Chicken Nuggets, Cookies.
Being grandparents gives us a different vantage point. Because we are not in the throes of parenting and the fatigue that comes from it, we get to savour the experience and enjoy every single precious moment. We spend hours watching Amaal as she contorts her face, stares at an object with intense focus, yawns with abandon, sticks out her tongue and curls her lips with attitude. We applaud her as she burps and farts. We revel in giving her massages and baths. We marvel at Mos’s happy demeanor and big, wide smiles. We listen to him as he engages us in delightful baby conversations that seem to go on and on. In the 3 weeks he was with us, before leaving for Nairobi, we saw him take his first deep laugh. It is said that in the Navajo tradition, the Navajo people celebrate a baby’s first laugh with a special family party, called a First Laugh Ceremony (A’wee Chi’deedloh). Their belief is that the first time a baby laughs, the child is transcending their spiritual existence and is ready to live with their family. We are just thrilled to bits that Amaal and Mos, through God’s infinite mercy and blessings, have become a part of our family.
There is something unexplainable at the marvel of holding your own child’s, baby. It is the cycle of life manifested. The love we feel is so intense, it is almost painful. Amaal is just over two months old; Mos is 3 weeks older. And we love them around the whole world and back.