Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Congratulations Mr Noor.

He arrived a couple of minutes late this morning, pulling up beside us as we waited in the shade cast by a whitewashed wall, with the biggest smile spread across his face.  I presumed he'd been racing - he often smiles when he's managed to break a few speed records getting to us on time, thereby maintaining his middle name of 'Mr Reliable'.

But no.
That wasn't the reason.

Fifteen minutes earlier he had received a message.
His wife had given birth to his first child.
A girl.
Mr Noor was a Daddy!
Now that's something to smile about, isn't it.
He was told mother and baby are doing fine.

Having just received the news himself Mr Noor was unable to provide the answers to my questions, you know the things we women like to ask when a baby is born and that you men seem to find a bit detailed.  Like, how heavy was she?  How long did labour take?  Was it natural birth or cesarean or any variation of?  That kind of stuff.

And of course, the big question - Have you decided a name?

Then, once the serious questions are over, the banter begins.
"You're going to have to work even harder now Noor - you have a family to support."
And, "You're going to have to work even more now Noor to build up her gold stocks for when she gets married"
"No doubt you'll have a party won't you Mr Noor?"  Of course ma'am.
"We're fairly certain you'll invite us, isn't that right Mr Noor?"  Ummmm...............(subject change!)
That kind of stuff.

Mr Noor may not get to hold his daughter for another two years.  That's when his next trip home is due. That knowledge evokes an emotion I struggle to find words for.  Sad, doesn't quite cut it.  It's a situation that Noor, and thousands of other expat men living and working in Saudi Arabia, accepts as par for the course.  There are so many things I could say about it.  But I won't.  Critical analysis (aka whinging) can wait for another day.  Today is a celebration.

Congratulations Mr Noor.
She's beautiful.

Ka Kite,

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