I love the 7th of every month; the 7th represents anniversaries for me to celebrate the most precious gift in my life, Leila. Yesterday – 45 months of remarkable wonder. They say mothers forget the pain of labour once they lay eyes on their precious child. So I may not have given labour, but think about it folks at the age of 56 a 22-month old entered my life. A child who didn’t sleep through the night for 1½ yrs.; whose primary form of communication in the first while was through tears in the middle of the night; then there were my tears wondering what am I thinking, how am I going to help this child; life as a zombie in the early months was the norm – yes, parents I get it –you all know what I am talking about – that is simply life.
And now, those terrifying moments of questioning are forgotten, I have caught up in my sleep, we are on a routine and this child is simply amazing. She talks up a storm intelligibly. Her body language adds such expression to her story telling. She exemplifies the true meaning of life. Would these be the words of the first 6 weeks with no sleep, not likely? What I do remember of those early weeks was the sense of the true feelings of love, of knowing life would never be the same again and I was simply okay with that. The first day I left her at daycare, hec the first year of leaving her at daycare tears came from both of us – parting was such sweet sorrow as the feelings of my heart being ripped wide open confused me, so this is what true love feels like? No wonder I kept it at bay. And we do remember last year the first day of JK when I was reduced to the tears of blubbering fool. Well good news, the second year of the first day of school is much better. The day before the tears were brewing within, but I held them back the brave soul that I am. First day of school went off without a hitch.
Leila and I had a special breakfast at which time she asked me what would happen if she didn’t get the same teacher as last year? What would happen if her friends weren’t in the same class? We talked about how she is smart and how she listens well to her teachers whether it is in school, daycare, swimming, dance, soccer, art, gymnastics, or hockey; therefore no matter who was her teacher she would be fine. We talked about how good she is at making friends and the friends she has will remain her friends. We would just plan playdates. So we are happy to announce that Leila has been blessed with Mme Belanger and Mme Desiree. Watching her embrace them as she walked into the room was a blessing. As for her friends, many remain together so TiTi is looking forward to another year of joyful sharing, school field trips, and a myriad of other great memories that come with a child in ELK.
Leila has decided to focus on swimming and hockey this fall as her extra-curricular activities. Looks like TiTi will be donning on skates this winter. Maybe this year I can do it without hanging on to Leila’s friend’s Dad.
In the norm age range for raising children, I kind of missed the boat. However, I am absolutely thrilled to be at this stage of the game with Leila. Life is not as harried at this time on my career path, I am involved in doing the work I love with a group of dedicated individuals committed to making our community stronger, safer and more vital; somewhat similar to people who filled my life in education. Leila keeps wondering when I will get my police uniform as I was retired from education the month she was born. I can enjoy the fruits of my labour in both roles. More importantly, I see the connection with family, education, and community with more clarity. The eyes of a parent are different than those I once viewed the world. My priorities have remained consistent – family, work, community all intertwined with fun, joie de vivre, joy and love. Leila has illuminated and simplified the lens.
Let me end with a Leila comment. We attended a friend’s 5th birthday and while we were on the hayride I overheard one of the moms mention a name of a teacher, which caught my attention. We discovered we had a common friend, Jean Hanson. I stated that Jean was one of the most brilliant women I knew. Leila pipes up and says now “I am, right TiTi?” Yes, Leila you definitely are.