I remember driving back to Gran’s house with him when Little Brother was born, my little legs stuck to the vinyl seat.
I remember sitting in front of him while he showed me how to polish my shoes for school. And he taught me how to iron a shirt.
I remember him taking away my torch so I couldn’t read under the covers way passed bedtime.
I remember helping alphabetise his incredible collection of 70s LPs. And later, sharing my music with him.
I remember driving down to the rubbish tip at the weekends when he would play the Dukes of Hazard on the car horn and being giddy with laughter in the back seat with Little Brother.
I remember him asking me to help him clean up after he had vomited in his bed following a day of drinking with his mate.
I remember him calling me ‘Daddy’s little girl’.
I remember him calling me ‘jailbait’ in front of his football team.
I remember his hopelessness after being made redundant, and how many hours I spent working with his CV and application letters; anything to help.
I remember endless discussions and arguments and debates at the kitchen table.
I remember finding the email on the laptop I had borrowed from him that confirmed rumours of his latest affair.
I remember his pride on my graduation day.
I remember the last Christmas with Mum and Gran and we had a champagne breakfast and a food fight and we laughed so hard all day.
I remember his breaking voice on the phone: ‘She’s gone Sas. Oh god Mac’s gone’.
I remember his fear at being alone.
I remember the awful fight where I finally got to say what I needed to say. And that he hung up.
I remember his absence on my wedding day. And all the days since.
‘As an adult I understand how flawed and fallible we all are, and how becoming a parent doesn’t make you invulnerable to making mistakes. I see how the screw-ups of past generations are passed down to each of us and how we do the best we can with the tools we have.
We could all spend a lifetime unravelling the knots of our childhood, but at some point you realise the knots are no longer yours. They belong to your parents, and thier parents before them. The legacy is long and complicated, the damage passed on through generations, until one day somebody finally stops and says: this story does not belong to me.’
~ This I Know: Notes on Unravelling the Heart by the very wise and very awesome, Susannah Conway