I grew up in a family of sisters. Throughout most of my childhood—most of my life, really—I wished I had a brother. Nearly every time I said that to a girl or woman who did have a brother, she said I was lucky not to have one. But that didn’t stop my wishing. And I was determined to have all boys. Four of them. I even picked out their names: Michael, Nathaniel, Oliver, and Jude.
Life doesn’t always turn out the way we expect. Somewhere along the way I became a Muslim, so the names I had chosen wouldn’t really work anymore. But I still wanted boys.
When I learned I was pregnant with my first, my husband said he preferred to have a son. I was afraid of jinxing the pregnancy so I always just said I wanted a healthy baby—and this was, of course, most important. But I was thrilled when our first son, Ahmad, was born..
Ahmad was followed by Adam Umar. Then Ibrahim. By the time I became pregnant with my fourth I had decided that three boys was good enough and I was ready for my girl. Her name would be Khadijah. I took sewing classes so I could make nice dresses for her. But when I went in for my ultrasound—the first time I’d had one of those—I learned to expect another boy. Musa was followed, in time, by Salahuddin and Nuruddin. When I learned my sixth was also a boy I just laughed. By then it seemed impossible for me to have anything else.
There are times when I wish I had my Khadijah. But I do have a daughter-in-law now, and two sweet granddaughters, so all is not lost. In fact, it will probably be easier to welcome my daughters into the family when they’re fully grown.
When Ahmad was born I looked at him and thought about the tremendous responsibility of raising him. On the day he was born, there may have also been murderers coming into the world—what a frightening though. One of the nurses called him “my little man” and that’s what he always was—well, until he became my big man.
Raising boys is a delight. It is also a huge responsibility. We want them to become responsible, loving men. Sometimes it’s hard work to get them to that point. And that’s the theme of this blog.