Men will build skyscrapers, head successful companies for years and plan epic battles. But the magical event of childbirth will always baffle us-somehow.

The birth of my firstborn on a day like this seventeen years ago was no different. A few weeks before she came along, I consulted more experienced dads out there on how to go about. You think bringing up a child is a joke? Kamaley my cousin asked me without giving details. My uncle was even meaner. You got to have lots of money; he warned me, wagging a brutal finger before my face.

So to be ready for her arrival, I took a loan. I bought foodstuffs that could easily overfeed a small village. I went to the market and bought sacks of njahi. In my place when a child is born, matronly aunties flock your home to feast on those legumes and smack the tot’s cheeks with saliva to welcome it. It’s also their chance to gossip about whether the kid’s ears resemble the father’s or not.

In short, I had everything set for the day.

Until the last minute to take mama watoto to the hospital came. It was three a.m. and I had no car! So I figured that I could take her to the hospital with my company bike which I had in my compound. But alas, the darn Yamaha thing couldn’t start, however much I kicked!

I moved around the estate frantically looking for a car. Until I remembered that my neighbour Ndegwa had one. When I knocked at his door all shaken, he didn’t ask questions. Instead, he just powered his Peugeot towards the hospital. Do such friends exist anymore?

Some hours later, a baby girl made her grand entry into the world with a cry that the meanest dad couldn’t shut up. I had walked into the hospital as another skinny bloke with a jaded cap held low over my eyes. Now I wore another bigger cap-that one of a father.

The single act of childbirth transformed yours truly from a chap to man who would spice his talk with terms like ‘my daughter’. From then on, I was alive to the fact that a piece of me was walking out there, in a world full of mafisi, winking at her.

 Her mom had carried her for nine months. Now it was time for us to carry her for the rest of our lives. Another quivering string had been added to my lute. She had her music, which was partly mine, partly hers.

Bringing her up has been an eye opening journey. I had to look for resources to equip myself with skills to navigate the tricky waters of fatherhood. I have shared about that journey in a post here. https://www.drummajor.co.ke/papa-dont-preach/

There are a myriad books out there about raising girls. But one resource that every dad should have in his library is Fourteen talks by age fourteen by Michelle Icard.

Fourteen talks by age fourteen is an incredibly user-friendly and straightforward guide. A must-read for parents and caregivers of adolescents that provides them with the necessary tools to talk to their tweens and sustain happy and healthy relationships.

Raising a daughter isn’t a burden, but priviledge. A tasking priviledge, I must add. But with Fourteen talks by age fourteen in your bookshelf , the task is much lighter.

You can purchase this wonderful book on Amazon by following this link:Fourteen talks by age fourteen.

Gilbert Mwangi

Creative writer,dreamer,and Drum Major for all things true.

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