Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ontario


I am driving back to Ontario in a couple of days. The drive is a long one. Watching three or four days worth of asphalt whiz by is both cleansing and entrancing. I feel like I am returning to a bunch of ghosts trapped in a world I left years ago.

I really miss my Dad. I’ll probably stop by the cemetery while I’m there. I will pick up a stone and leave it on top of his marker to let others know someone was there before them. I will say hi to him, tell him I miss him, and maybe let him know what’s happening in my life right now. Then I’ll probably fall silent and fight back tears.

I am now the age that Dad was when I last spent time with him. I was 19 years old then – the same age my eldest son is now. After that last visit, I returned to Toronto not knowing I would never see him again. As the few short years passed between that time and his funeral, I had always felt like I didn’t quite measure up in his eyes. I thought that once I got my adult legs under me and had some great things going on that I would visit him again. I had always thought I could visit him with my own family. I wish he had the chance to meet his grandkids.

On the other hand, he made no real effort to reach out to me either.

In a way, I now feel like I felt back before he died. I am heading back to the place I grew up to show the people I used to be close to that I am thriving and that I’ve got my shit together. Do I really though? Do I really care what those people think? Do they really care about how I’m doing?

My youngest son is 16 now, and this is going to be his first cross-country road trip. I am so honoured to be able to show him the beauty of the Canadian west. The Alberta foothills, the relentless flatness of the prairies, the limitless trees and rocks of the Canadian Shield in Northern Ontario, the critters that always appear in the early morning alongside the highway… It will be a great experience for him.

Spending this summer with him in Vancouver has been a good experience. I can’t believe how much he’s grown in the five years since he was last here. He now towers over most at 6’4” in his work boots, and he still has a couple of years to grow. I am proud of him and his ability to solve problems on his feet. He has always been a deep thinker, and I am not concerned for his future at all.

I hope to see my daughters while I’m Ontario. I gave up reaching out to them years ago. They never got over my separation from their mother, and I stopped asking to speak to them when I called. I was tired of their rejection. I wish their mother had realised the damage she was doing by filling their heads with lies about me. Then again, maybe she did. Still, it will be good to see them. I hope they want to see me.