Gill’s Birthday

Posted on 17 October 2005


Gill, October 1986
From the moment you were born, I loved you. This is the first picture taken after we brought you home from the hospital. The “we” was Anita and Sonia, you and me. We stopped in at Lesliejane and Leslie gave me a pile of new clothes to try on at home before you even saw your house. Is this where your love of beautiful clothes comes from?

Baby Gill & !You were my baby doll. I loved dressing you in little coats and bonnets. With your arrival, the dynamics in the house changed. Before, it was me and three males. With another female in the house, the ambiance softened. Or was it your softness, your joie de vivre that softened your father and brothers? How they loved to play with you, make you laugh – which you did often.

BandolHow beautifully you grew. This picture was taken when we were on holiday in Toulon – you, your father, me. We have been traveling together since you were little, and often it was just you and me. What patience you had with me. I seldom reserved a hotel. We would hop on a train and then hop off, and with your little suitcase on wheels, you would trudge behind me, from one hotel to another till we found one we liked and could afford. We complemented one another. When I couldn’t decide where to go, I’d ask you. I doubt I’d ever have visited Pisa or Verona without your input.

High School GradWhere did the years go? You looked so beautiful in your cap and gown but then, when did you ever not look beautiful? But I also knew with this milestone in your life passed, our time living side by side, at home and on the road, was coming to an end. Several months after this photo was taken, you would leave me to attend college in Toronto. You were ready. It was me who took longer to adjust.

Beautiful DreamerI called this picture “Beautiful Dreamer.” It was taken not this past summer but the summer before when you went to Spain. Your love of travel grew each summer.

Gill and her dadThis picture was taken on “Reefer Madness” when you worked with your dad. I love the love you share. You are so much alike.

Cheeky Gill and ShirinI love this picture of you and your best friend, so cheeky and so you, when your heart is light.

This summerI was so proud of you this summer – how you cooked feasts for the writing workshop, and Marlene, Ursula, and me; how you listened, translated during a difficult time, how you bought chocolate gifts for all the women in our French home; how you entertained a friend’s younger daughter, how you adored a young French man, how you were so wondrously you.

Paris has changed youParis is changing you. But not the good, generous, loving core of you. I know to do you justice, I should say that you aren’t perfect, that you can be moody, and that there are awkward moments between us. But surprisingly, they are rare. I can’t help but adore you. I am also in awe of your courage and fortitude. When we were in Northern Ireland, it was you who insisted we stay. Although not all has been rosy in Paris, you persevere. I love you, dear Gigi, Gilly, Gillian. Happy Birthday.

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