It was cold on January 30th, 1988 when she was born. Her father and I were just finishing off touches to her bedroom when my water broke, two weeks before my due date. There was a nurses’ strike happening, the temperature was sub-Arctic and I hadn’t quite finished doing all the things I wanted to get done before her arrival as Alexis’ little sister. I wanted to wait. At least until after the nurses’ strike. My doctor informed me waiting was not an option. My daughter agreed. She arrived just after 3pm in the afternoon of the 30th. Two weeks early. 6lbs 1 oz. A perfect miracle of life.
And that is how she has rolled ever since.
She doesn’t wait for things to happen. She makes them happen. She doesn’t wait for the world to catch up. She leads the parade.
Inspiring. Thoughtful. Thought-provoking. Lele (as we call her) likes to challenge ideas, shake-up the status quo, see things through different perspectives.
And she likes to invite everyone into her creative way of seeing the world.
Once, when she was about eight, she really, really wanted a dog. When she asked me if we could get one, I told her I didn’t think so. I was a single-working parent of two young daughters. I didn’t want to have to care for an animal. A few days later, she asked me if we could get an elephant. Of course not, I laughed. An elephant’s too big. What about a giraffe? Same thing, I told her — plus the fact our roof wasn’t high enough to accommodate an animal that tall. She pretended to think about it some more and then asked if we could get a tiger. Tiger’s don’t do well in the city, I replied. Oh, she said. Do dogs? Of course, I casually responded. And they’re not too big or too tall for our house are they? No. They’re not. Good, she said. Then a dog is perfect.
It wasn’t until two weeks later when we were on our way to the SPCA to check out dogs that I realized I’d been outsmarted by my 8 year old daughter.
And when we came home with Bella, an 80lb shaggy black bear of a dog, I realized I’d been out-smarted again. I’d insisted that if we got a dog, it would be a small one.
Lele was right though. We needed that big shaggy girl in our lives. And so did their dad, she would later convince me. Travelling back and forth between houses with the girls, Bella had become his best friend. She’ll only be a block away, mom, she told me when she asked if Bella could go live with their father. You’ve got us. He needs someone in the house with him. And so Bella, the dog she’d lobbied for so convincingly took up residence in their father’s house a block away.
Because it was the right thing to do and doing the right thing is at the heart of who Lele is. She cares about people, animals, everything. And beyond caring, she turns up. She takes action.
During the floods in 2013, she volunteered around the city helping to sweep out flooded basements, carry out sodden belongings of strangers. It didn’t matter what the job. She was needed. She was there.
It’s who she is. It’s how she is in this world. Loving. Laughing. Living life her way.
And I am so blessed. She has gifted my life with grace and love not to mention a lot of quirky humour. And when I really needed it, she gave me the forgiveness I so desperately needed and kept on loving me just the way I am.
Today is my youngest daughter’s birthday. My life and the world are a better place because she’s in it.