In the story I wrote about her birth in the book I created for her 13th birthday, she was once a little Dream Fairy named Arabeth, who, while travelling the night skies casting golden dream dust upon sleeping children, spied a child named Alexis and fell in love. Arabeth went back to the stars that night and pleaded with the Queen to allow her to become an earthchild so she could be with Alexis. It is not easy for a Dream Fairy to leave her night duties and the only life she’s known, but, after passing a series of tests, Arabeth was reborn as my daughter Lele (her nickname since childhood, pronounced Lee-Lee) and most importantly, she became Alexis’ sister.
She came into this world two weeks early. It is her way, eager to get on with life, excited to explore and discover what the world has to offer, she has no time to waste. Life is calling her name. Let’s get on with it.
It is her way.
Life is an adventure. It is a field of limitless possibilities to be run through, leaped into, dove into, savoured with every breath. And don’t forget to laugh along the way.
In Lele’s book, it’s important to never forget the laughter. Nor the kindness. The caring and the sharing.
When they were little, Lele shared everything. With anyone, even perfect strangers.
Classic Lele: Every Easter break we would travel to Tofino for a week on the edge of the waters along the furthest most coast of Canada. Along the way, we’d stop in Vancouver to visit my sister and go to Granville Island. At Granville, Lele would don a pair of furry bunny ears, fill a basket with foil covered chocolate eggs and wander along the steps outside the market offering people Easter treats. Grown-ups would try to offer her money for the treats and she would refuse and say, “All I want is a smile.” And smile they did.
Once, she and her sister filmed a ‘documentary’ of their efforts to release “The Goldfish” back to the ocean. “The Goldfish” were Lele’s favourite crackers and she thought they deserved to be set free to find their fishy families under the sea.
Along with being inventive, she is also very, very persistent. When Lele wants something, she will move heaven and earth to get it.
Shortly after their father and I separated, she wanted a dog. “Let’s just go to the Humane Society to look mommy. Please…” And she would look at me with her huge golden eyes (and repeatedly ask the question) until finally I succumbed.
“If we get a dog it will only be a small one,” I insisted.
Bella came home with us that day weighing in at 60 pounds. On weekends, Bella travelled back and forth with the girls to their father’s house at the end of the street for about a year until one day, she stayed with their father. Permanently.
“Daddy’s lonely mommy. And Bella loves him. We can’t take her back.” Lele informed me. And so, Bella became their father’s inseparable friend.
Lele was also responsible for Ellie, the Wunder Pooch’s arrival in our home. She’d started with asking for an elephant. When I informed her we couldn’t get an elephant, she tried a giraffe, a moose, a crocodile, a deer until finally, I agreed to the smallest of her requests, a dog. Except it wasn’t quite that straightforward. Lele would take the newspaper and circle all the ads for Golden Retriever puppies and show them to me with an innocent, “Oh look, here’s a Golden Retriever puppy and it’s only a half hour drive from the city.” It was the only dog her sister really wanted and Lele knew I couldn’t withstand the pressure of both of them looking at me with big sad eyes. I think she might have even added, “And Alexis and I are about to be teenagers mommy and you’ll be home alone more. You’ll need some company around the house.” And Ellie came into our lives.
She’s responsible for Beaumont’s arrival too! She wanted C.C. and me to get a dog and knew it had to be hypoallergenic. So, she started searching and researching and sending me links to websites where I could go ‘look’. It took her almost a year and countless emails. I am grateful she didn’t give up!
Unlike her sister, Lele doesn’t paint and draw but she does exhibit one of the greatest attributes of a creative. She is curious to the nth degree.
When presented with a math test in Grade 10, she wanted to check out if the statistic she’d read on “C” being the most common answer in multiple choice tests was true. She proved the theory somewhat incorrect and did not pass the test. She was okay with that. She just wanted to find the answer for herself.
It is her way.
My youngest daughter turned 28 on Saturday.
Life with Lele is a continuous journey of love and laughter, of wonder and awe. Her heart is a beautiful place where everyone knows they are safe and welcome in her embrace. Her world is a colourful space where everyone knows they have a place to belong and be seen and heard and cared for and if nothing else, to find laughter galore.
She is fiercely protective of those she loves. Does not tolerate unkindness silently and will stand up to bullies and anyone who dares to act without thought of the consequences of their actions on others.
She is smart. Generous. Funny. She dances with the grace of a swan floating on a lake and moves through life with the agility of a squirrel leaping through the branches of a tree — when they were little I made up a poem about Mountain Annie. Both girls wanted their own persona in the poem. Alexis became “Shopping Moll” and Lele? Well, she gave herself the name “Chainsaw Squirrel” because she thought my poem was a little too tame!
She is my daughter and I love her.
Happy Birthday Lele!
(And yes, I did get her permission to write about her today. She insists on it.)
To read more about Lele and her sister, check out Alexis’ blog SISTERS.