Somewhere between the heart-warming & wrenching I find myself overcome with 12 hours of emotion. This isn’t unusual for me, a trigger like this can happen at any moment. A grocery store, a conversation, even a children’s film... But yesterday, it was at my parents' house.
Here lives a familiar, but distant relationship. Brewing like steeped tea since childhood I struggle now to connect with them as an adult.
We meet each other at the edge of the driveway like unpiloted bodies, the hour of the day brought an anxiety only a child of addiction can understand.
My expectations were low, and words were slurred, so I presented them with little conversation and Chinese takeout. I brought the dog with me to keep things light, and to create an energy that we were all happy with. It was my Dad’s birthday.
Over dinner there was an unusual pause in alcohol and we sat around the kitchen table in genuine enjoyment of the now-cold takeout.
The noise of utensils and dishes softened to an eventual stop, and mom stepped out to the garage to retrieve the gift she and I purchased earlier in the day.
Dad reflected on how pleased he was with the food and thanked me for bringing it from Cranbrook. Not much else was said before moms return with the gift: a Bluetooth speaker.
I showed them how to pair it with dad’s phone and explained a bit of the controls, how it works, and told them that they could listen to anything they wanted.
Dad was elated to choose a song and the boy in him wanted to hear it as loud as possible. He started to play a familiar song and said to mom: “Remember when we were young and romantic?”.
Trotting out to the deck together, he sets down the speaker to play “Dancing in the Moonlight” loud and clear as he and mom flashed back to the 70s.
The lyrics carried effortlessly towards the sky as he grabs moms hand. They swing terribly together in missed footing and laughter, and I’m completely idle watching a connection I seldom witness in my parents.
I laugh softly with cake on my fork and tears in my eyes, my warmed heart wondering how all this time has passed.
30 years of life gone by that I don’t know my parents. I’d be a fool now to assume it’s too late to try.