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My Father… The Best Grandfather!

I was in class nine when I was blessed with my first little nephew and with the birth of that small kid, everyone in the house was automatically pushed a step upward in the family tree. My father felt to be the happiest as he was the fastest in his generation to be called as Grandpa. I could have never known how much emotionally attached with Izzuddin he was, even from long before his birth, if only I had not read the piece he had written for Izzuddin on his very first birthday. Therefore, on this eve of this year’s Father’s Day, I could not resist myself from sharing the writing with you all... Here it goes….

“My grandson Izzuddin-that’s not his real name but I fondly call him- joined us whilst 30 weeks in his womb-home. Since then, for us, each day got to be a happier one in the enduring wait for the bundle of joy to arrive. In excitement we lost all illness, forgot pains, and collectively took to sewing diapers, baby dresses, cotton blankets, and caring for Izz within his mother. We did tremendous talking, forecasting, scheduling, and check-listing never getting tired. We spent most of our time in the same room together with Izz, who though apart from us cushioned in warm fluid-comfort got to know us well in no time. He never missed to give his mother a strong jolt on hearing my return from office. He would also make it a game to knock on his Nani’s palm when held over him. Even at times he would make his mother nervous with unusually long calmness. As weeks passed on, Izz’s movements got more frequent and too painful for his little mother but he would respond with instant calmness upon my recitation of Sura Yasin.

August 11, 2003, which will forever be etched in my memory, turned out to be the near predicted day, and Izz was born by a caesarian section at CMH, Chittagong while his father was away to Kuwait for six days. Being told that Izz, underweight, would need intensive care- we did not expect to see him just after delivery. While the operation was on, we were tensely waiting and the sudden appearance of a nurse was a great relief. Before she could speak out, I unexpectedly caught sight of a tiny face- no bigger than a small orange, bright-eyed and smiling, staring at me as if seeking claim. With my joyful outburst- Alhamdulillah it’s my grandson Izz!!—he returned an invincible smile. Izz, just minutes old, gently pushed us to the generation of grandparents. I offered a thanksgiving prayer to Almighty Allah and cried out the Azaan and Iqama while his Nani proudly held him on her lap.

Izz, at birth, though too small and scrawny, was quite active. Therefore, the doctors let him stay with us while his mother remained under intensive care. On the first night, his Nani, even with her diabetics, spent sleepless as tension gripped that Izz might forget to breathe. Jaundice is something most newborns suffer and Izz was no exception. Our joys mixed up with sorrow when Izz was blindfolded for phototherapy and a needle, pricked into a vein of his hand, was left to stay for intravenous drips. Izz disliked the extra burden on him and battled the infection to get well on his twelfth day to leave the hospital. To receive Izz, our house was given a thorough clean, fumigated, disinfected and made baby-oriented. We received Izz by a small ceremony and our happy life began with our long awaited precious grandson.

During first few weeks, Izz was very demanding and his Nani had to take much special care. At night, he lay between us and spent almost sleepless. We got to know him well and could anticipate his endless needs which we tried to meet to our best. In the next few weeks Izz developed more predictable pattern of sleeping, eating and other habits and looking after him got to be easier. He had developed more control on his head and upper body for which we could then rely on others to share in the looking after. Izz, from the first month, loved to go out for a walk or on a rickshaw ride and he preferred anybody who would take him outside. To stop him from wailing, even at the late hours of many foggy winter nights, I would wrap him in a blanket and go for a rickshaw ride.

When Izz was 11 weeks’, his parents let us have a break. Izz’s father wanted his son with him in Dhaka and Izz cried too much when we took him there. Without Izz, we came back with pain in our heart and returned to our normal boredom. We made frequent phone calls to know if he was well and not crying or sick. My big thrill came four weeks later when Izz’s parents decided to return him to us- of course along with his mother. They faced several difficulties-- Izz fell sick and they could not continue well with their studies. We were very happy on being reunited and we quickly adjusted ourselves again. Izz had grown bigger and very entertaining for us. He gave us the golden opportunity to learn about child mind and habits of which we were indifferent when we raised our own children.

At age nine months, Izz got on the move—exploring, investigating, and experimenting. He roamed around on all fours, loved hiding things and playing peek-a-boo all the time. His curiosity often led him fall into trouble so we always had to keep a watchful eye on him. He began learning new skills everyday; often uttered real words, and began developing more opinions of his own with tendency to voice them. He began growing relationship with outsiders choosing favorites amongst them. He would get bored at home and always desired to go out at the beach or park. However, our bad days returned again and we had to part with Izz on his 12th month. This time we were not as sad as before because Izz could live quite by himself, had a mind of his own and had the ability to adjust with changing environment and relationship.

Izz, though a little soul, gave us tons of love which I cherish in my heart. He gave me the highest honor that I ever received as he chose me his best friend. I may not live up to see Izz becoming a great man, but my love and prayers for him shall remain a continuous commitment forever.”

---Tanzina Ahmed Choudhury

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