About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Birthday Wishes to Jaclyn

As regular readers will know, this past year and a bit has been one of the most difficult times of my life, mainly because I nearly lost my daughter to a wicked disease. And then when things finally settled down, we almost lost her again to possible cancer. (It wasn't, but it was still a very scary time!) Since tomorrow is her birthday, I'd like to honour her here and tell you a bit about her. Some of the following is from last year's post, but I've updated it because she is so special to me, and I'm so proud of how she has fought hard to turn her life around despite being burdened with a condition that will be life-long.

May 20, 1980 - a day I will forever hold in my heart as extra special. It was the day my second daughter was born, 9 lbs and 23" long. She had a round little tummy, long skinny arms and legs, blue eyes and dark hair. I'd thought all along that she would be a boy because I'd carried her so differently from her sister. It took her quite a while to arrive - we joked that she was too comfy in there and we were disturbing her perfect little world. Finally, we heard the doctor announce, "Another girl," and we had to scramble to find a name for her. It didn't take us long to decide. Since I loved my sister's name and she'd never had the joy of having a child, we just changed the spelling to make it unique. And since she was going to be the last, we made up her middle name to honour her Daddy.

Jaclyn was the cutest little girl and her personality developed quickly. She was a determined little girl and tried to boss her big sister around. When she started school, her teacher tried to be very tactful in telling us something we already knew. Even when she was a toddler, we could tell she had her own mind about things. The first year she was in figure skating and part of the annual ice carnival, she actually stole the show. The 2 & 3 year olds were part of the Anna and the King of Siam segment, and they were to simply skate around the edge of the arena as "Anna" did her routine in the center of the ice. At one point, Jaclyn left the group of toddlers and skated over to "Anna" and proceeded to copy her movements. There was a roar of approval from the audience and she ended her own little "routine" with a standing ovation! Here she is in her "official" portrait and when she stole the show that memorable day:

Jaclyn was always a leader and wanted to be involved in everything from soccer to ballet to figure skating. Being the only girl on her soccer team in first and second grade didn't bother her at all because she wanted to be like her Grampa who was a soccer hero. She loved animals and in kindergarten decided she would marry a dairy farmer because she didn't want the animals killed for beef. Here are a few shots showing her with different animals she loved.

When she saw her Gramma knitting, the only thing possible was to have Gramma teach her to knit, and when she saw her Grandmother playing the organ, nothing would do but to learn how to play the organ.
When Jaclyn was only 3 years old, she had her first solo in a Sunday School Christmas program. In elementary school, she joined the school choir and participated in many festival choir competitions. She also had roles in school and church plays (e.g. "The Miracle Worker"). In high school, she had a part in "Oliver" and other productions. She took singing lessons and sang at church and later even considered trying out for Canadian Idol. She'll often go out to karaoke with friends, too, but I've never had the guts to sneak in to listen to her. I always stop everything I'm doing whenever I hear her singing - she sings an awesome "At Last" and anything by Andrew Lloyd Weber. Here she is in her Grade 6 musical production during one of her solos.

Throughout her childhood, Jaclyn was also involved in other various sports and other activities. Here are just a few photos illustrating her interests in a vast variety of activities.

I know that some of Jaclyn's favourite memories have to do with summers at the cabin on Shuswap Lake. She was only 2 months old the first time she went with us for our summer holidays. Over the years, she had lots of fun swimming, boating, fishing with her Dad, paddle-wheeling, exploring in the government campsite nearby, horseback riding, picnicking, barbecuing, and roasting weiners and marshmallows, and sipping hot chocolate over the campfire that her Dad would make every night. Besides swimming in the lake, I took her to swimming lessons so she was very comfortable around any sort of water. Here she is on the beach at at Cape Cod where we had a wonderful vacation the year we lived in Ottawa, Ontario.

Jaclyn loved her Daddy more than anyone in the whole world. Her world was shattered in August of 1992 when her father died, and her life would never again be the same. Although she tried to deal with the tragedy and the pain it brought, she's had a really hard time moving on with her life. That fall when she entered seventh grade, she made it her goal to honour her father by doing the absolute best she could in her school work as well as being the best person she could be towards others. That next spring, she received the Citizenship Award and I cried as I watched her stand to be honoured by the whole school. I was so proud of her.

(This is a photo of Jaclyn at her seventh grade "grad." She's trying to smile, but I can see the sadness in her eyes.)
Jaclyn went on to graduate from high school with very good grades and some honours. However, she had coasted through, usually bored with her courses because they didn't challenge her enough. She tried college, but it didn't work, so she went to work. That was boring, too. Finally, she went to Blanche MacDonald School and got her diploma in makeup technology. I was so proud of her when she graduated and supported her while she tried to break into the industry. She was involved in several movies and did all sorts of makeup work - from brides to zombies. She and a friend developed their own production company but when her partner sold her out, she was devasted and decided to change course. She has a very good job now and management is thrilled with her customer service skills.

Jaclyn is a singer, a writer, a poet, an artist, a jewellry designer, a computer whiz, and a proud Auntie to Noah and Eden. She is sensitive, intelligent, generous, and has a dry wit. She is beautiful, gentle yet strong, loving, caring, and genuine. She loves all animals, especially dogs and cats and used to have a pet rat named Whiskey. (I do have to protect her from spiders, though.) Sometimes she likes to shock me because she thinks it's funny, but if I ever need her, she's there for me. I love her so much and know that my life would not be the same had she not be born. I thank God every day that He sent her to be my daugher for always. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACLYN - may all your dreams come true.


Josie said...

Happy Birthday, Jaclyn! Obviously your Mom is so proud of you! As a family, you have all been through so much.

By the way, Jaclyn, I think you are an amazing writer! It is definitely your forté.

Happy Birthday!


Smalltown RN said...

Wow that was just awesome Leslie...what a wonderful birthday gift to your daughter...she sounds brilliant....and so full of life...

A big Happy Birthday to your daughter!!!

leslie said...

Thanks Josie & MaryAnn, she's downstairs right now with a bunch of her friends. It's too bad it rained today which ruined the beach barbecue idea, but they're having fun anyway. They're bbq'ing hot dogs on the patio and listening to music and talking and laughing. Such a contrast to last year's birthday. It's gratifying to see how nice her friends are. One of her old best friends from high school came with her boyfriend, and it was nice for me to see her again (she's been back East studying and working as an insect specialist - can't remember what that's called. Oh, yes, it's called an entymologist. NOW it's starting to clear up. Oh well, I'm just glad she is having a good time this year.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Happy Birthday Jaclyn and congrats to Leslie for such a beautiful daughter. It is wonderful to read about such a loving family full of love and mutual respect.

Indeed all of us would want this though many will not be so blessed. Still,it must be remembered that you guys had to go through a lot to get to where you are today and deserve to pat yourselves on your strength and perseverance.

Just to let you know that I read your entire post from beginning to end and it was a great post. On the other hand, the comment just before mine was already too long after the first word........and boy, was it long by a lot.

leslie said...

Thanks LGS, I appreciate your kind comments. And the comment before yours has been deleted and any more that come from that direction will also be deleted.

Anonymous said...

HI Leslie, yes it is always a special day when you recall the birth of a child, however old they are, a mother never forgets what she was doing this time xx years ago!

You are rightly proud of your daughter - Happy Birthday for tomorrow Jaclyn but I think this is for you Mom, I'll pop onto Jaclyn's own blog now and wish her well.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Lovely photos and a lovely tribute to Jaclyn.

Russell said...

Happy Birthday to your daughter!! Also, and just as important, happy birthday to you!! I have always felt that moms should be included in any birthday celebration for obvious reasons!

So, Leslie, Happy Birthday to you, too....!!!

Oh, by the way, my suspicion is that Jacyln is a reflection of her mother.... I think I am right!

Take care.

Paulie said...

Happy birthday to your daughter:

Many happy returns to the day of your birth.
May sunshine and gladness be given.
May God in His mercy prepare you on earth.
For a beautiful birthday in heaven!

You must be very proud of your daughter!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Happy Birthday to your daughter, lovely photo's and a wonderful read.Hope she has a great birthday tomorrow. :-)

MedStudentWife said...

Happy birthday Jaclyn !!!

A beautiful tribute to her, Leslie.

Ruth D~ said...

What a beautiful tribute. Happy, sad . . . both. But triumphant! She looks so much like you. Pretty girl.

nancygrayce said...

Happy Birthday Jaclyn! What a great and supportive mama you have.

Liz said...

That's a beautiful tribute, leslie. Happy birthday for yesterday to Jaclyn!

starnitesky said...

Happy belated birthday to Jaclyn, you have been blessed with a wonderful daughter and she has been blessed with a wonderful mother.

Carver said...

I hope Jaclyn had a happy birthday. What a beautiful tribute to your amazing daughter.