Nos sons, which brings together some of Marc Cassivi’s “dad chronicles”, shows that behind his drooling looks, there is a very tender heart.
He’s got a big mouth, Marc Cassivi. It is enough to read it in the pages of La Presse to think that it is on purpose to be hated. He has a sense of the murderous formula and does not make moderate use of it. You have to know him to know that, yes, he likes to hit on the same nails and makes it a point of honor to be the pebble in the shoe of a lot of people.
But he’s not hard to love, Marc.
Total transparency: it is not because he has been a colleague for more than 20 years at La Presse that I refer to him by his first name. Marc is above all a great friend. We met in a student newspaper 30 years ago, where we met another Alexandre, Sirois that one, also at La Presse. We haven’t left each other since, all three. Not for long, anyway.
He was almost the first of us to become a dad. The other Alex was a few days ahead of him. They have two sons each. Me, the opposite. His “boys”, so I knew them from the cradle, but never as intimately as in these “dad chronicles” that Marc has been writing for about 10 years on Sundays in La Presse. Texts gathered today in Nos sons, a touching and very well shot collection.
Notice: his book is not titled “my”, but “our” sons. Marc, basically, talks about his sons as much as yours. My daughters too. Its subject is first of all the bond that unites us to our children, our role as parents. “Being a father is a big part of who I am,” Marc, who comes from a family of four, tells me. This “desire to be a father”, he always had it in him, as an evidence.
His chronicles are first of all “slices of life”, which focus on what is most ordinary in everyday life. “These are neither the chronicles of an unworthy father nor those of a dad who looks good,” says Marc. He doesn’t see himself as a model “new dad”, although he is aware that he does not act like those before him. Like many other dads today.
Changing diapers, bathing baby, feeding him, making his child laugh by turning him upside down (preferably before meals), giving kisses to his little sores and, later, helping him to heal the big wounds on his heart, that goes without saying for many dads our age. In fact, we really like it.
What Nos sons shows is less the challenge of being a parent than the happiness of being a dad, which Marc recounts with infinite tenderness. His gaze is sometimes amazed, sometimes irritated (“They challenge us,” he says of children), always loving. “The affection was always there. The challenge is not to look corny, he says, but I assume. »
What sets his collection of chronicles apart is also the skill with which Marc talks about society when talking about his boys. He talks about learning to read and sexism at school, says the fear that lives in him when guys the age of his sons are shot dead in the middle of the street in Montreal because they were in the wrong place in the wrong moment, speaks of racial profiling by evoking the hair of one of his sons and, when he says that he is cleaning his basement, it is mainly to say that his eldest is gaining autonomy and… confess that he is really in no hurry to see him go.
He doesn’t say that to brag. Marc also admits to sometimes having scruples about recounting a rather “banal” family life. It seems to me rather that this is what makes the beauty of his stories. Dramas are everywhere, all the time. We don’t take enough time to talk about the bonds we develop with our children through the films we watch, the discussions we have, the activities we share, the silences and the intimacy we respect.
Marc says that his sons always have the last word on his columns, but that they almost never censor him. In fact, they don’t even care a bit that their father publishes a book about them… One day, they will measure their luck to have access to this view of their childhood and adolescence, told a skilful and attentive pen, full of humor and above all love.
Do you think that’s corny? I assume.