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Reflecting on my fatherhood journey this Xmas

Christmas is a time when most people celebrate with family and friends and this year, Tetu Shani, a first-time dad, husband and musician is beyond excited about spending the second Christmas with his wife and son. He is incredibly happy to be with his young family, a gift and moment that some people may not have or be alive to enjoy.

The Samalina hit maker is a father of a 17-month-old baby boy, Taji, who has taught him to live in the moment. “He’ll fall down and cry and in the next moment he’ll be laughing and playing. He’ll be playing one minute and before you know it, he’s asleep,” he says.

Shani would be spending Christmas at his parents. “We have a tradition where we buy each other gifts and open them that morning. We then sing carols and eat literally for the rest of the day,” he adds. Spending Christmas as a first-time dad last year was amazing for Shani.

“I was able to look around and see how the family had expanded. This Christmas is the first time for my three-month-old niece, Hakika, so it looks like the family is still expanding. My son is a bit older now since last Christmas. What will be special about this time is he’s old enough to begin to form memories. He now knows and loves his grandpa and his grandma.

He is now conscious of when people are having a good time,” Shani says. He adds, “This will be my second Christmas as a dad and it will be nice to reflect on how far we have come as a family,” he says.

When his wife was expecting, Shani pondered a lot on how his son would look like, the personality he would have and when he finally hit the world, he was overwhelmed with the joy that comes in that moment and those that come afterwards.

“When my wife gave birth to my boy, I was so proud of her. To see the kind of ordeal that she went through to give birth made me recognise the amazing strength in femininity. As the boy grows older, you see how much he adores and depends on his mother. It’s a reminder of how amazing she is,” he says adding that being a father changed his perspective on life.

Shani has come to understand that when single, you consider your life your own until you get married and ultimately become a parent. “When you get married, you realise that the decisions that you make profoundly impact your partner even when they don’t seem that important. When your child comes, it becomes even more clear that your life is not your own.

There is a baby that is watching how you live,” Shani says. Being a musician and having a toddler hasn’t affected Tetu’s artistry negatively. The only thing it has done is make practice time at home a task because the little man always threatens to be part of it.

But that, he can live with and find ways to dodge his tiny hands. Now he knows what it takes to raise a child, and it is not just about money. It means providing in all ways and most importantly emotionally. It has made him respect and appreciate his parents’ efforts in bringing him up. Shani has a great relationship with his dad, something he hopes to always share with his son, who adores his grandpa.

Nothing else matters when his grandpa is around. “We bond all the time. I read him a bedtime story at night when I can and he falls asleep in my lap. That has become our special time together. Being a musician hasn’t really taken away from our time together.

I’m usually home during the day and I gig at night. If anything, I’m with my son more often than those with traditional jobs,” he says. As 2018 approaches, Shani has no big resolutions set, but hopes to keep on being consistent at what he is already doing as a husband, father and musician. He intends to follow his heart and be his own person.

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