A Letter to My Son

My youngest, Fares, has just turned Seven. He was delivered by the same doctor who had brought me to the world so far back in time. He was born at the hand of his grandfather. This is a letter I wrote (in Arabic) on a piece of paper in the hospital on that day, minutes after his arrival. I’ve kept it in the hope of giving it to him when he’s old enough to understand.

Monday, March 20, 2000

Dear Fares

Welcome to the world. All of my life, I’ve been waiting for you. I never knew how you’re going to look like or what you’ll turn out to be. You were just there in the bottom of my soul, Fares.
Life has treated your mom and me right. We were blessed with your two beautiful sisters before you came along. Now that you are here, I have earned my long-deserved title “Abu Fares”. Ever since I was in high school, my buddies called me so. I vaguely remember where the nickname came from but it doesn’t really matter, now that you’re here.
You’re going to meet all sorts of people as you cruise through life. Many are wonderful folks, and you’re going to feel that it’s a pleasure simply knowing them. A few are assholes to say the least. With any luck, I’ll be around for a while to show you the way. Eventually, you’re going to be on your own though. I have many big dreams for you son, but they are mine and I wouldn’t try to impose them on you. I might give you a hint or two at times, or a traveler’s account of some faraway place I’ve been to. But it’s your game, and sooner or later I would be just a spectator. I secretly pray for you and I would continue to do so for as long as I should be.
Go get it Fares, make me proud.

With all my love,

Being a father and a son, I can readily identify with both. For Fares’ birthday, I would like to offer him and all the wonderful young(er) people who read this blog this beautiful song Father & Son (1970) by Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam). It’s a heartrending lesson to both fathers and sons as it valiantly tries to answer the enigmatic “WHY”. While reading the lyrics, click the player at the end and enjoy it online. Dig deep within. You’ll get a glimpse of what you all mean to your fathers.

It's not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy.
You're still young, that's your fault,
There's so much you have to know.
Find a girl, settle down, If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy.
I was once like you are now, and I know that it's not easy,
To be calm when you've found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you've got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.

How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again.
It's always been the same, same old story.
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen.
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

It's not time to make a change, (son: away, away…)
Just sit down, take it slowly.
You're still young, that's your fault,
There's so much you have to go through.
Find a girl, settle down, If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy.

All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside, (father: stay, stay…)
It's hard, but it's harder to ignore it.
If they were right, I'd agree, but it's them you know not me.
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

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Angel said…
The whole father-son thing....
I was into tears as soon as the music started swelling....
Abufares, With no doubt this is the sweetest post/letter I have ever read. I certainly felt an uplifting of my own spirits...
God bless you both today and every day....
Dubai Jazz said…
Happy birthday to Fares...
الله يخليلك ياه يا رب ...
Inshallah, you will live to see his kids and watch the same exchange take place between Fares and Abu Fares the Junior!...the mission statement you've written being relayed from one generation to the other....:)

On a lighter note, I had the honor of meeting Shiekh Yousuf Islam in person and shake hands with him, very inspiring and down-to-earth person...
Simply wonderful...God bless you both
Unknown said…
what a post ya Abu Fares!!
you see what i mean by an online father?
that parent side of you is there in every single post! only this one speaks it out, thanks to Fares :-)
yerba b3izzak..
i hope he becomes to be the Tartousi, the Syrian we need all need him to be.
The Syrian Brit said…
My dear Abu Fares,
Very few sentiments can rival the love between a father and his child, boy or girl..
My eldest daughter has just turned 25 (I posted about her 24th Birthday last year 9http://syrianbrit.blogspot.com/2006/02/happy-birthday-my-sweet-little-girl.html)), and I remember, minute by minute, every little detail of those 25 years...
My twin son and daughter will be 21 this July, and I remember every tiny detail of those 21 years, as well..
I guess you and I are blessed by the fact that we had the good fortune to watch our offsprings grow and mature (in your case, growing and maturing, of course!..)
Please wish Fares, from 3ammo SB, a Happy Birthday, and a long and prosperous life, and Inshallah byerba b3izzak w3izz Um Fares...
Dr.Mad said…
simply beautiful, alla aykhalilak Fares
Unknown said…
extremely touching post Abufares.

Wish him a happy birthday.. and I couldn't say it better than Sham did, yirba b3izzak.
Ihsan said…
Touchy indeed.

Allah ukhaleekon la ba3d.

A father is what makes life feel safer.
Happy birthday Fares! Your father is extremely proud of you.

Great song; loved it before I became a father but did not fully understand it until I became one.
Anonymous said…
Happy Birthday Fares!
Great post AbuFares, as usual, but this one is really special. It made me cry even before I hear the song. His birthday is special to all of us, and u know how much I wish to be with u at this special day. Inshallah bitifrah feeh and his sisters as well. Hugs and kisses to Fares.
Yazan said…
Happy birthday Fares.

beautiful. allah ykhaleekon la ba3d...
Abufares said…
Hello Angel
From Fares and me, thank you for your sweet thoughts.

Dubai Jazz
Tislam Ya Friend. 3a2bal ma nifrah fik.

Syrian in London
Thank you and I wish you the best, now and always.

Shoukran Ya Binti. Inshalah bi Farhtek.

Syrian Brit
I just read your touching post. I was not aware of the blogosphere then. But I realize that we share the same birthday, Hala and I on Feb.27th. Inshalah she and her brother and sister bi yerbou bi 3ezzak.

Thank you man, I really appreciate it.

Thanks from Fares and me. Tonight, I'm going to print all these BD wishes for him. He already is excited knowing (as he puts it) that his name is on the internet.

Great to hear from you. All of you my friends will make Fares' BD a special occasion.

Abu Kareem
You certainly made Fares happy since your message is directed to him. I, too, have loved the song when I was still a young boy. Now, I understand it as well.

Fares says thank you Auntie. He really wishes you were here. He will send you his own pictures from the BD party. That's what he told me.

Tislam ya Yazan ya Assil. I look forward your wedding invitation... some day.
Syrianita said…
الله يحميلك ياه و تشوف حالك فيه
متل ما هو اكيد شايف حالو فيك
for you are a great father indeed
Abufares said…
Thank you Soraya
So glad to hear from you.
From Fares and me, wish you were here.
Lujayn said…
Abu Fares, that was a lovely letter you wrote! Fares is lucky to have a dad who was/is not shy or afraid to express his feelings for him.

God bless him!
Abufares said…
Hey Lujayn
Thank you my friend.
You know what guys. I really wish you were all here.
Fares sends his love to each and everyone of you.
GraY FoX said…
allah ykhaleekom la ba3d :D
Abufares said…
Hey Gray Fox
Thank you for your wishes. 3a2bal far7tak.
Black Hawk said…
Hi Abufares,
happy birthday to Fares...
may Allah save him to you...
this post seems to be the best of urs...;)..i am just wondering if Fares will get into Blogging issue..Like his father..good luck..
Karin said…
What a beautiful beautiful gift you gave your son with this moving post! He may not be able - at his tender age - to value that but later on he will ... you can bank on that!

I know the song .. it is GREAT .. like each one Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) sang!

To Fares from half around the world a BIG high-5, together with only the best of the best! For now I wish you a lot of fun ... and for later on a GREAT future with the chance to fulfil your dreams!

You're a fantastic dad Abufares ... your kids are MORE than fortunate to have you!!
Abufares said…
Hello Black Hawk
Hello Karin

Thank you for your wonderful wishes. I also appreciate the fact that you liked this post of mine. I think that whenever words come from the heart, 90% of the task is done. The remaining 10% are spices and herbs.
Unknown said…
Happy birthday to Fares.

You stroke a chord here Abu Fares.

I couldn't help it but shed a tear.

Mom is away now, she's back home.

Dad is taking care of us now.

Yesterday was Mother's day, we were all yapping about Mom and calling, texting, crying, laughing remembering her. She did the same.

We all forgot that Dady's Mom died a couple of months ago and that it was the 1st Mother's day for him without his mom around.

He cried in private, didn't let us see him.

Lately I have been thinking quite a lot about him. I think we were all unfair and unjust to him.

Maybe because it was mom who we used to turn to whenever we needed.

He did make a lot of sacrifices, the biggest was to leave his sick Dad and Mom and come here to support his wife (mom). Both of his parents died while he was away. He could not say goodbye and that was devastating to him.

I love you daddy.

Sorry Abu Fares. I was a bit carried away.

Abufares said…
You were not carried away at all. What you said needed saying and I'm sure your father would appreciate this sensitive gesture. Sons need to express their love to their parents. It's a 2-Way street and unfortunately as we grow older we take our parents for granted.
Thank you for reminding all of us of what needs to be said.
Anonymous said…
Very touching!
Hoping that life has reserved it's best for him.
Anonymous said…
happy birthday fares!
What a lovely post! I think every child should have a father like you :)
Abufares said…
Hi Lost somewhere
Inshallah they have better days than ours. This is what my mom used to tell me.

thanx for sharing. Fares is still surprised, yet very pleased that he's still getting BD wishes
Anonymous said…
Hello, again, Abu Fares. What a beautiful post - so full of love and sincerity. Your son is a lucky boy to have such a father. I will never forget the moments after my son was born, I said hello to him using his name, Anastasio. He looked at me with his big, beautiful eyes (although I'm sure he couldn't really see me - he definitely recognized my voice). I cried oceans of happiness. Being a parent is truly a gift. All you can hope is they grow up to enjoy all that the world has to offer with as little pain as possible. Thank you, again, for a truly delightful read. :)
Abufares said…
@Isobel (Om Anastasio)

So nice to hear and read about the experiences of others especially when it comes to our children.
Thank you for dropping by.

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