“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown”- Shakespeare
I wear a crown/title in my family. I used to love it. I would relish in it when the words spoke from the lips of relatives. It was a badge of honor.
Now, I can’t stand it . It gets a sigh and an eye roll. Soon, it may evolve into a chirp (Haitian style).
Somebody please save from this throne I sit on as “The Good Haitian Daughter”.
I am not sure how old I was when I first starting hearing the phrase, ” Dee, you are such a good Haitian daughter” but at 40, the words just don’t resonate the same.
It was cool when all it entailed was getting good grades, representing yourself well in front of company and in public, and getting married with a bonus of having kids.
I had no idea that I was somehow tied to a list of obligations one of which would be guardian to one of my parents.
A few weeks back, my Dad suffered a serious medical emergency and was placed in a rehabilitation facility. My Dad has since remarried since he and my mom divorced. However, the responsibility for his care was placed on me at his wife’s request not on my three brothers. In her defense, she works several jobs and due to a language barrier felt more comfortable if someone else handled it. She mentioned she had reached out to my brothers but hadn’t heard back (more on that later).
So, I threw on my super daughter cape and made the thousand plus mile trek to New Jersey with my three young kids in tow to sit on my throne again as the good Haitian daughter.
Truth is, I cant be THAT good. I didn’t marry a Haitian man. I diluted the blood line and as a result I should be punished. Strip me of the title. I rarely cook Haitian food (will fry a plantain here and there) and most of my friends who are Haitian are deeply immersed into American culture. Surely, I should get some points deducted for that.
I never really earned the title but probably got it by default since I am the youngest and ONLY girl of four siblings. So, who else could it be? If I had a sister, can we both be good or would she be the bad one or vice-versa?
There are a total of 4 of us so why is this not being divided equally among us all. We can rotate the crown among us. We could even do it by seasons. I can take Summer, someone else Autumn and so on and so forth.
It will never happen. Why? Haitian sons don’t ever have to deal with this. They know it too or perhaps I taught my brothers I will always come to the rescue. All of my brothers live within a 10 mile radius of Dad, yet I was the one that had to travel a thousand plus miles and handle the arrangements.
I need some answers as to how my brothers, and most Haitian sons in general, get to carry on with business as usual. We, daughters, on the other hand are left to be responsible for ourselves, our families, and often times our aging parents.
Now, this is my experience, perhaps it is different in your family, or is it? Let me know if this is a shared experience.
I would be curious to know how things work in an all male sibling group? only male child situation? Do the duties fall on the daughter in law?
So, who wears the crown in your family?
P.S My Dad is recovering and making slow and steady progress ( *adjusts crown on head*).