Good spirited and kind Alex Nayanookeesic is my one and only son-in-law and is about to become a first time father
at the age of 23, and yes, excited of what lies ahead, but not nervous. He knows what to expect as he has a little sister.
He was born at the Geraldton District Hospital in Northern Ontario and his grandparents are First Nations from theCNR rail village of Auden, which is now just a ghost town of 200 former inhabitants. Although not a practicing spiritual native person, he is aware that there are sacred sites out there.
He met my daughter Laura at an isolated camping spot close to Partridge Lake. She is five years older than he, has a wonderful smile and love of life. They fell in love almost immediately, it was wonderful, fun. She has two children from two other fellows, which did not bother him. He had to deal with this situation because he loves her. It was as he put it, “a package deal”. He just loved her kids just like his own right from the start. He is good with them and for them. Angelina, their daughter, is nine and Justice, their son is six. The new couple wanted to start anew and so got married at the Quebec Lodge in Red Rock. Thirty-three people attended if you include the Minister, his wife, and the photographer. After three months the kids call him daddy. Wow!
Alex and Laura and the children are going to have a baby in June and are so thrilled. They have been to Thunder Bay a number of times for the ultra-sound and things look okay. Is it going to be a boy or girl? Alex knows and now everyone knows except his in-laws who don’t want to!
Currently living as a family in a rental unit geared to income, they are anxious to move to a new house. Where they move will depend on where Alex gets a full-time job. He does not like being unemployed and would much rather be working. He finds it important that all four of them keep together. They have had a few disagreements, growing pains as in any relationship, but things are working out. Also, in a traditional way, Laura has changed her last name to his, as a sign of her long term commitment to their relationship.
At present, Laura is driving for a subcontractor with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and operates a snow plow and sand truck. Alex is so proud of her because she got her DZ license (air brake endorsement) last summer on an automatic transmission unit and this company only operates standard split shift vehicles. She wants enough hours in order to collect EI (Employment Insurance) maternity leave. He helps by looking after the kids as she does a lot of shift work and 12 hour call-ins. I guess for now he’s a “Mr. Mom”, a label he chuckles over, but that is okay with him. In the future he plans to get a heavy operators ticket or equivalent.
Alex has had a lot of luck ice fishing lately for inland speckled trout with Laura, the kids, his step dad Mick and friend Tracy, Laura’s youngest brother Calvin, and the in-laws. Outings are very enjoyable and he has found a good spot close to town (no, I won’t tell you the name of the lake… do you think I’m crazy!!!) It is an excellent social time for Alex to enjoy the outdoors, have a fire, smoke a few cigarettes, run the 1992 Indy 500 Polaris snow machine, and hook some trout. “Awesome” is the word Justice uses to describe the catch. Mick takes the fish home and puts them in the smoker for future delicious consumption.
What it is like for him to be a dad? He struggles a bit with this new label and his circumstances, but has hope that he will get a permanent job so that Laura can focus on looking after the new baby and be at home and accessible for their three children.
Submitted by Gordon Mackenzie, Nipigon, ON — a very proud and grateful father-in-law and member of the Dad Central Steering Committee representing Northern Ontario
February 20, 2013