In response to Sarah Holmes’ letter last week “Lest We Forget”

Tuesday, November 22 2016

I am a mother of three young boys, and during my short time in this role, Sarah’s experience is all too familiar. When I had my first child, I remember missing ceremonies that were important to me as I raced out of the buildings lest my fretting child disturbed the tone of the event. I would be in the parking lot crying along with my child in those isolating moments wondering what I was missing. And before you ask why didn’t I leave my child at home, you can assume any of the following reasons: 1) my partner was unavailable and sitters were unavailable; 2) I was breastfeeding my baby on demand; 3) we wanted to attend this event as a family. However, I will tell you what has also brought me to tears, tears of joy; the times my children were celebrated. Once during a beautifully moving service we had a quiet moment of reflection, at which time my child made a loud vocalization. Without any recrimination the officiant immediately did quite the opposite and gave thanks for the presence of my child, that it “reminded us of new life and hope.” Or the time at a “Celebration of Life” ceremony a woman finally sat beside me and my boys after my row was remaining empty despite it being a full house. She smiled at my boys and let me know she had a book if I might need it. My reality is that I will be travelling with my boys for years to come and I would hope that the community spaces of Gabriola see small children as part of a thriving healthy community.

~ Jenny Ivany