The time I allowed to share with my father was One year, Seven months and four days.
He got to hear my first words, see my first steps… and change my diapers.
He’d already seen these small miracles three times before me.
At the time of his passing, my mother was coming due with another bundle of joy and he was looking to see it all again a fifth time.
The laughter, the tears, feedings, which lead to vomit occasionally, and always more diapers.
My mother tells me they wanted TEN KIDS, I couldn’t imagine having nine siblings,
But I can only imagine a life where I would be allowed more father time.
Memories of my father aren’t really memories of my own-
But retellings of the things he did, the things he said and the things he allowed.
I was still an infant when I had to face life without him but I’m sure I smile his reflection
I’m sure I speak as he spoke, only with New York regional slang as opposed to a DC metro twang
My father’s passing made him loom larger than most fathers; my mother said he was a martyr
Said he was in paradise with Allah looking down on us
Said don’t do such and such, you wouldn’t want to disappoint your father
I don’t mean to blaspheme but in my mind, my father stood shoulder to shoulder with God
Watching my deeds on earth from a cloud high in the heavens
He and the Angels would casually chat up my playground antics.
He’d talk to the Prophets about how well I recited the fatiha, how straight I stood in prayer.
When he saw trouble coming my way he’d lend me strength
Or yell at the devil in the fire of hell to get him his ages of off my back,
But as I got closer to his age
When I went to prom, I compared myself to his photograph of him at his prom
Was I taller? Was I as strong? Did I have more style?
Was I as smart?
Do I measure up to a man I can’t remember?
Do I measure up to a Legend?
He was like Paul Bunyon, Jesus, Malcolm, Hercules, and Bruce Lee.
I never got to see his faults, I only knew him in his glory,
He was a Black Belt in Karate, He a soldier in the Army.
He was a father, He was a husband,
He was an Imam, leader of Muslim Community in the nation’s capital.
To All his siblings he was a favorite brother, always ready with a joke.
To my mother he was ideal man.
But when I visit his resting place, I can only find his grave because he’s two headstones down from my aunt.
This is the Father Time I’m allowed now.
The short time we shared was valuable; any time you have to share with your father is just as precious.
Let him know that it is.