New arrival is the family unifier, a perpetual bundle of joy
YOU ARE my heart in human form. You are love personified. You are my world in one. My baby is my yonkinto (everything). Those are some of the most sentimental and heartfelt captions I have come across on social media accompanying pictures of babies posted by their moms, dads, uncles and aunts, especially on Facebook.
I will be the first to confess that I thought these people were exaggerating.
I felt like they were pushing their metaphors a bit too far. I judged them too quickly. I honestly did not know how they felt.
I just did not understand that indeed the tiny little people can actually turn our worlds around.
Yesterday, a cute and adorable (believe you me, she is) baby girl turned three months old. Her name is Boipelo Dzivhuluwani Chabalala.
Well, when she is old enough to speak, she will call me uncle.
Weekdays seem long but when it is TGIF (Thank God it’s Friday), I literally race home to see my niece. I watch her sleep every night in what we now term the “I surrender pose” – arms stretched sideways and a pouted mouth. I sometimes insist that she sleeps on my chest for an hour or more before they take her to bed.
She is the epitome of love. She is unspeakable joy in human form. You see, I have joined the group. But wait for it, let me tell you how it all started.
When my sister Tebogo Chabalala found out that she was pregnant last year, she said, “Papina (as she affectionately calls me) I think I am pregnant. But please don’t tell anyone.” I was surprised. I then asked her when she planned to tell our mother the good news.
Her reply left me hopeless. She said; “I am scared to tell her and please do not say anything to her.” My sister is 31 years old, for heaven’s sake. Why would she be afraid to tell our mother that she is going to be a grandmother? It turns our she had made up her mind. We are actually good friends so I decided to keep the growing secret (her tummy was getting bigger) and sooner or later mom was going to spot this.
Then there were cravings and smells that revolted her. I thought those things were a myth. They are very real.
She didn’t tell mom, she had to force it out of her, while all along I was suffering alone and secretly feeding her cravings.
Grapes and mangoes were her thing. This person who would have pap for breakfast, lunch and supper all day everyday wanted nothing to do with it. I kid you not.
This was when it dawned on me that all that I have read, seen on TV or heard on the radio about pregnancy and cravings was true. Then, on March 27, my sister gave birth to a baby girl. She and the dad had already decided that the baby’s first name would be Boipelo, which loosely translated means Our Pride or Joy.
I was so glad that they did not name her Dikeledi, Matlhomola, Mathata or any of the names that carry curses or burdens. You see, in our culture we believe that people live up to their names.
Oh, and I was asked to give her a second name. I got very excited.
It was such an honour. But I was told “please don’t give my child a long name”, my sister warned me. I looked for a short name but I didn’t find any.
The Xi Tsonga, Setswana and Pedi names failed me. But there was a Venda name that kept on coming back to my mind. I am a sucker for wisdom and I wouldn’t want anything less for my niece. So, I suggested the Venda name Dzivhuluwani, which means “be wise”.
And here is what I learnt from this wonderful blessing from God: babies can build or destroy families or relationships.
Nonetheless, with the birth of Snunguna, as we adoringly call my niece, our family is closer than ever, and the joy and love at home is inexplicable.
To me, she is unity personified.