Shazia Mirza: Diary of a disappointing daughter

My brother is getting married. You’d think my parents would be jumping from the rooftops with excitement. After all, this is the moment they’ve been waiting for all their lives.

My mum calls me, and I ask, “Are you happy?”

“We are relieved,” she replies. “It’s just another thing we don’t have to worry about before we die. What is there to be happy about at our age? We’ve just got to get things done.” It’s as if they’ve just ticked off the next thing on their to-do list. She continues: “Can you bring your camcorder? We’d like you to video the event.”

“Haven’t you got a professional videographer coming?”

“Yes, but we need back-up, and I know you filmed your holiday recently in Sardinia, so we thought you could film the wedding.”

My parents seem quite calm about everything. I don’t know if it’s because they are old and don’t have much energy, or if they’re in shock. “This is our first wedding in the family, so we’re using this as an experience,” Mum said. Hopefully, by the time they get to me they’ll be in the swing of things.

With my dad, it’s difficult to work out what he’s thinking or feeling. I said to him, “Are you ready for this?”

I thought he was going to say something profound, but he replied, “Yes, I’ve bought a new pair of shoes, and I’ve been wearing them to stretch them.” My dad, then, is excited about a pair shoes, of all things. Mum is even more excited about spending two nights at the Holiday Inn.