Family

by Dani

I can’t sleep. I’m tired, beat even. but still I cannot fall asleep.

My mind races with all that I have to do this week; chores, work, travel, kids, but that’s not it.  What I think is really keeping me awake is my father.

Or the thought of what my father might or might not do.

When my inlaws met my parents I felt an obligation to ensure they were adequately prepared. I braced them for the worst, but prayed for the best. You see, my mom and dad were great. Just not together. They didn’t argue. That wasn’t it. They just weren’t very tolerant of eachother.

Dinner with my family was always slightly reminiscent of a Mark Wahlberg movie. Just swap the Southie accent for a French Canadian slur.

A typical scene might go something like this.
“Denis, it’s 8:30. Your dinner is cold. You said you’d be home by 7. We were waiting.”

“Tabernac. Do I tell you what to do? When to come home? (Turning to his audience with half a buzz). She thinks I can’t feed myself! I’ve been feeding myself since I was fourteen fucking years old. When I left Canada! I don’t need no one to take care of me!”
And so it went…

This weekend we are meeting some of our Canadian cousins for the very first time. Dad left Quebec at 14, or so the story goes, and hasn’t returned again or spoken to anyone since 1967. Weird, right? Ask him why and he says, “what for?” End of story. Did something happen? He says no. It’s been a question ny sister and I have pondered always.

We grew up without cousins and were jealous of friends who had them. Holidays would have been so much more fun with a family full of kids. But Mom spoke no French and they spoke no English, and with Dad unwilling to bridge the gap, well…

So this weekend after 38 years of being the only kids, we are getting cousins. We still speak no French. They may still speak no English, but who cares? That’s part of the adventure.

What’s keeping me up is the concern that Dad will disappear. He hasn’t shown up in 55 years.
What makes me think he’ll show up now? Or worse yet, he may show up and do his over-sharing bit.

You know. The one where he tells total strangers the dollar amount on my paycheck to show how proud he is of me.

Either way. I’m looking forward to the visit. What makes me cringe is that my crap French is only good enough to know when he’s humiliating me, but not good enough to stop him. I’m sure as usual,  no one will mind but me.

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