Sorry I missed your birthday this year. I’ve always found it ironic that my French Dad’s birthday is on Australia Day and that while I celebrate being an Aussie I always raise a glass of wine and say a ‘salut’ to you too. It wasn’t always that way, of course. We used to celebrate your birthday, just the two of us, at a beach somewhere. It was what I needed for a long time. I’m happy we’re past that now.
It’s been a while since I’ve written I know. I’m sorry for that too. Life is just so busy these days and I am consumed with living every minute to the fullest. Mum reckons I get that from you. She’s probably right.
I know I always told you that I wanted to marry you. Or at least a man like you and sadness would touch your smile when you would say 'No. Not for you ma petite chere'. Turns out you were right. Life with Mark is good. You like him don’t you? I know. What’s not to like? I wish you were here to drink with us. I’m sure marrying a man in the wine industry was more destiny than accident. He thinks so too. Have I told you what a good palate I have? It’s true. Mark reckons it’s in the genes. I don’t argue that. I like the inference. He’s different to you. Considered instead of reckless. Calm instead of passionate. Controlled instead of emotional. Consistent instead of irrational. He’s a good husband. Let’s face it, he’s a better husband than you were. That’s not an accident either.
Do you remember when you used to have all your friends over and Mum would cook French food for everyone and you’d all sit around the kitchen table and drink wine until all hours of the morning singing... and crying? My kids will never have those memories of their Dad and I’m happy for that.
Jason is doing ok. He misses you but keeps his feelings close to his chest. Sometimes he’ll be telling me a story and wave his hand about and I feel as though a younger you stands before me. It’s disconcerting. Mum feels it too and I see that it makes her happy and sad. She’s coming to visit you this year. 45 years after she met you and she’s finally going to see where you’re from. No, she could never be accused of being radical. You two. So different.
So, life is good Dad. Nathan just turned 8 and Stefan will be 6. I can hear you exclaim “Already??” I can’t believe it myself. It only seems like yesterday that I was telling you that I was pregnant and sharing the wonder of growing your grandchild in my bloody huge belly. Nathan is so proud that I gave him your name as his middle name. He tells everyone. Especially Stefan. Just something else to tease him about. I know you are proud of my boys. Do you see yourself in Nathan? I do. His eyes. His face. His mouth. His body. So much of you in him. It makes my heart burst. Stefan is a bit more of a mix of Mum's side and Mark’s side of the family. He’s got your passion though. And your hair.
They talk about you sometimes. They’re learning French at school and have excellent pronunciation. They love reminding their class mates of their French heritage too. Now that we’ve cleared up the confusion that they are not actually Aboriginal. Don’t ask, Dad.
It’s been a bumpy ride, as life tends to be, but the bumps seem to be in the right places. I’m sorry it’s been so long. I know I promised that it wouldn’t be. I’ll write more often. I promise. Again.
I miss you Dad.
Rest in Peace xx