The Gardener

The threat of corporal punishment was real. Legos, Star Wars, Hot Wheels cars and tracks littered the floor during playtime. I’m sure some of those Hot Wheels tracks still remain hidden around my childhood home. Childhood stories told, in my mom’s presence of course, just loud enough for all to hear. I love to watch her cringe as I tell everyone I break into a cold sweat at the sight of Hot Wheels cars.
  I can’t imagine what it would be like to be the mother of three busy boys, the youngest having cerebral palsy. She was told that he would never talk and be a productive member of society. Well, he can and certainly is, this can be attributed to Mom’s perseverance, some say stubbornness. Mom was Randy’s strongest advocate, and she is still standing up for those less fortunate.
  ‘Mother bear’ describes her perfectly; fiercely protective of her children, grandchildren, students and most recently the guests of the Barrie Out of the Cold program. She is the coordinator; firm yet fair, equal parts ‘Warden’ and warm fuzzies. A little jealousy creeps in when a few of the guests call her ‘Mom.’ This in itself, speaks to the character of this great woman, I call Mom.
  I am so proud of her and she inspires me daily. Her tireless efforts to help those around her.
  I have learned so much from her over the years, just now realizing all the seeds she has planted and all the time she has spent nurturing and yes, I needed a little pruning along the way until her effort started to bear fruit.
  I followed in her footsteps, though my path was a little more circuitous. Later she told me, she always knew I would become a teacher. I wondered why she never pushed me in that direction. Always frank, she told me I wouldn’t have been a very good teacher at the time. Of course, she was right. Perhaps, that is what makes her the mother she is, offering love, support and guidance but still allowing me to find my own way.

©2018 Jamie Forget

Jamie Forget is an elementary school teacher from Ontario. Actively involved in social justice issues, locally and globally, Jamie loves to travel and is always ready for the next adventure. Photography and poetry have become his mental health strategies of choice. You can find Jamie’s work on his blog Facebook and Instagram

Chris Riley is a photographer and filmmaker from Detroit currently in the midst of creating a documentary web series about her city’s neighbourhood rebirth. You can find more of her work at

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