Laoba and Dorian


My father in law left last night and I have a feeling it will be a very long time until we see each other again. and thats a damn shame.

For a total of six months that man spent every waking hour taking care of this family. Hanging out with Dorian, keeping the books for this and that, going on shopping runs, he even cooked for a long time. He did it all. We never asked him to, he just brought that cross with him when he entered the house.

Along with that he brought the Zhang family dynamics which I slowly came to know over the past year. For most of that period I was stepping in between father and daughter when they started screaming at each other and pretty much every time I blamed the daughter for tripping on something small. Each time I was able to smooth things over — or at least things never got rough enough to actually facilitate a split.

But last night I was the one who tripped. Over something ridiculous and inconsequential, but i tripped hard and lost my mind. I am loud and kinda violent when i lose my temper — i dont usually hurt anyone and i can be cowed pretty easily by a firm word and a look, but it can seem pretty nasty. Actually now that I think of it the only one who has always been able to cut off my fire right in the middle has been my dad. I usually hold things in check against everyone else because …

it can end relationships and cause serious damage. I know now why Bean was always tripping on laoba. Dude has a deep complex that emerges in snide little comments and stubborn little offhand remarks and visions of persecution and … i dont know, that bitch type of stuff (although I have been guilty of shit like that) just drove me off the wall. Stress. Jealousy because Dorian seemed to need Laoba more than me … who knows how many threads of emotion led to the blow-up.

But now, in the hour of our need, the man who was there as the third wheel (a useful one) dipped out without a word.

Laoba and Stinky on his 1st birthday

I used to hear him call out his name for stinky, 小脚板, (pronounced xiaojiube’r in Sichuanhua) like it was a mantra. Now we avoid saying it so stinky doesn’t stop, look around and say, 爷爷?

So today my ass was up at 5am taking care of stinky (dorian) after a night of taking care of lil stinky and mama. I took him out on a tour of the neighborhood like laoba always did and i forgot the coins that would allow us to ride on the little cars outside of the convenience store. Something i am sure laoba never forgot. We hit up all Dorian’s favorite spots — built up on daily trips (3x a day) with laoba around the area. I was on several of those trips too, as a bystander. And now i”m the one running the show, taking cues from murmurs and points and kicks of little feet. Learning those little things i didn’t know about my son.

Like when he pats his chest that means sleepy-time. Never knew that, you believe that?

Now that's a good lookin guy

He’s got crazy episodes where he just runs, flails and screams. And you just gotta trot behind him and make sure he doesnt trip and fall into some dog poop.

Did we not appreciate laoba? Naw man. I had dozens of conversations where i said, laoba, dont let bean get to you. its all good. you are indisensable. Dorian loves you. I love you. We need you around. This is what it should be like. And i would compare and contrast with my family. No way in hell my dad would cook and take care of the baby 24/7 like laoba. but my dad isn’t an issue ridden coward either.

so now its just the two of us with these two stinky’s. For now, its ok, but Lord almighty does it tucker you out. I think a couple days though, and i’ll find the reserves that are wrapped in joyous moments. Like him looking deep into my eyes with a huge rapturous smile because i got 10 coins for that little car ride and i kept it flowing until he was like … ok enough, we’ll be back tomorrow.

Sascha Matuszak
Sascha Matuszak

2 thoughts on “Laoba and Dorian

  1. o man, i see you in there amidst that cute half chinese face… maybe it’s the cheeks that remind me of the young satch with the white wife beater rolling up on journalism class — and it makes me tear up a little. plus i was already tearing up a little thinking about the part where you said you blow up sometimes, cuz that’s really a very sparse sometimes, in my experience…

    but then i was also thinking about how you prolly look at that lil face with such wonder, and i go “see? see why someone would blow up at someone else, when that type of preciousness is the onus?!” you know what i’m saying now, i think.

    you’ll hold it all down man, cuz you are now the man of the house and that’s what ya’ll do — with the help of the woman of the house, a’course.

  2. Hey Saschi,

    looks like you have your hands full…..we all know family is complicated, hope Yushi is ok…..Dorian looks super you alot..and Yushi of course…
    love you, mom

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