Misread Signs - My Family Travels

After such memorable experiences as enjoying boat rides and exhilarating sailing lessons in the Vancouver Harbor and an afternoon at Playland at the PNE, on our final night of my first out of the country, we decided to go to Malone’s, a quintessential Canadian cuisine restaurant. Little did I know the events of our celebratory dinner would not only be the most memorable experience on my trip, it would completely change my relationship with my parents.


Shortly after sitting down at our table, my parents thought nothing of letting me go off to the restroom, after all I was 13 and we were in Canada. Several minutes passed and I had not returned to the table. My dad nervously tapped the table as my mother leaned in and asked, “Where’s Alex?”

“I was wondering the same thing,” my father replied. “I’ll go look for him.”

My father went downstairs and pulled open the restroom door. "Alex? Are you here Alex?" he called out hopefully, but to no avail. I was nowhere to be found.

He hastily returned to the table and told my mom what happened. She calmly responded, “Maybe he got lost on the way back upstairs and was too stubborn to ask anyone for help.” With a new sense of urgency my father raced downstairs and searched from the neon lit bar, passed the restrooms to the back door. He couldn't find me. Just then he noticed the back door to the restaurant was ajar and the worst case scenario hit him square in the face. As he pushed open the door to the alley behind the restaurant, his heart sunk. There was no sign of me.

With slumped shoulders and a quivering lip he returned to the table. “I can’t find him. He’s gone.” My family was in a panic and ready to call the police to file a report when they noticed me pull out my chair and sit down at the table. With a gasp from my mother and a chuckle from my dad they both exclaimed, “Where were you?”

Completely unaware of everything my family had just gone through I responded, “I was in the bathroom.” Clearly, this answer did not make sense to them. As we recounted the events of the last 10 minutes, we realized I had mistakenly entered the wrong restroom. The entire time my father searched for me, I was sitting in the girls room relieving myself of lunch.

When my father told me about how he felt when there were no signs of me in the entire restaurant, I was touched. In the years before the trip I had been in a mild state of depression feeling as though nobody cared about me. I felt lonely and often locked myself in my room, which seems counter intuitive, but what teenager is intuitive? I felt as if my parents hardly paid attention to me other than when to feed me and drive me to and from school. It took a trip to Vancouver for me to realize how much I meant to my parents. They hugged me and kissed me when I showed back up to the table, something I had missed for a long time. After the trip I stopped locking myself in my room and I spent time with my parents. Just as I misread the signs at Malone’s restrooms, I misread the signs of my parents’ love for me. While I’ll always remember the sites and sounds from my trip to Vancouver, the souvenir I treasure most is how my relationship with my parents was forever changed.

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