Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Jenny

A mere 13 months after our first son was born, we welcomed our first daughter to our family. Jennifer Lynn was the smallest of our babies, weighing only 7lb 4 oz and she has remained the smallest of our children, although she is a very strong presence in our family. We named her Jennifer Lynn because we liked the sound of it but as she grew up Jenny realized that there were a million Jennifer Lynn's her age. In her grade 4 class alone there were 5 of them. For that reason, she decided she didn't really like her name. She doesn't like the sound of the 'fer' at the end of it, so we all call her Jenn or Jenny. Whatever we call her, she's a very important, and vocal, part of the family.

She's just a couple of weeks old in this picture. I kept that little pink outfit and it's still around here someplace, although Jenn never had the opportunity to use it for her own children, all of whom are the blue-wearing type.

For her first Christmas we gave Jenn this lovely brown bear, which I told her was named Buddy Bear. She would have none of that though and as soon as she was able to talk (which was at a precociously young age) she insisted his name was Chocka. That bear was her companion until after she was married and I imagine it still hides someplace in her bedroom or nearby. Chocka was always involved in the games the siblings played and has been chained, tied, hung up in trees (by the aforementioned older brother) and who knows what else over the years. I have put many stitches in his worn out body over the years. He even had his own voice - everyone in the family was familiar with Chocka's voice. I haven't heard it in years though.

Jenn loved the babies that I kept bringing home for her and enjoyed the chance to play Mummy to them. She's pictured here with baby Sara, our #4 baby. She took her role of big sister seriously and guided (bossed) the younger ones as they grew. She claims to have raised the baby, Emily, for her first few years. She was 13 when Em was born. I dispute that claim of course, but Jenn sees it differently.

Jenn was always a very smart girl, excelling in school. She skipped classes a lot in high school (I found out later) and still finished as class valedictorian. We were so proud of her when she marched up on stage at graduation and gave her valedictory speech.
She always enjoyed writing and entered and won several regional writing contests, one of which earned her a scholarship for university. After high school she left home to attend the University of Alberta's Honors Sociology program, which she graduated from with honors 4 years later. During her time there, we all moved up to Edmonton so she was able to move home for part of her university time. Halfway through her program she married Anders Quist who was also attending the U of A and ultimately graduated from the U of A Law School.

Hers was the first wedding in our family. Anders is a welcome and valued addition to our family.

Almost two years later Jonah Quist, our first grandchild, was born. Her life changed dramatically with the birth of this active little boy. Over the years they added four more little boys to their family.

I wish I had an up-to-date picture of Jen's family, but this one will have to do, although Jenn is missing from it.

I'm putting this picture in because I love it. It was taken last June and features Sara, Me and Jenny.
Jenn has been able to use her writing talent to augment the family income over the years. She has been a journalist, has had her own weekly column in the local newspaper, has had articles and poems published in various national and other magazines, and currently has stories being published in two new "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books.
Her talents are many and varied. She learned how to wire the basement of her house and performed the job perfectly to the amazement of the building inspector. She gardens, builds walls and floors, and learns to do whatever renovations she deems necessary in and around her house. As the only woman in a 6-man family, she sets an example of strength, love, and the value of work for her husband and sons. She's been a CubScout leader and Sunday School teacher and supports her husband in his busy job in the legal system.
Jenn is an amazing woman. Her dad and I love her immensely and are very proud of her and her men, little and big.
Happy birthday Jenn. (April 24).


Mary said...

Chocka looks so big on baby Jenny, not at all like the ratty worn out bear I remember, happy birthday Jen!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Jen! Love your Mom's birthday stories!

sara said...

I think it's least that's how it's pronounced.
Any how come you kept stitching up shocka, but when my bear's head fell off you threw it away?
Jenny helped me through that ordeal, actually. She told me that Kelly (my bear) had moved back into the woods to live with her family.
Happy Birthday, Jen!

Love, Dad said...

I'm not sure of the official spelling of Jenny's bear but agree that it is pronounced "Shocka". I had forgotten about Kelly's unfortunate demise.
Jenny always seemed to hold down a part time job in High School making her achievement of being Valedictorian even more amazing. The small town we lived in wasn't very gracious about awarding the honour to a "Jenny come lately" either. But Jenn handled all the petty polictics well.

JQ said...

It's "Shoka" and Rob (as with most things) was actually the infant mastermind behind that name. Mum, you're like Wikipedia -- close but... Only so much more love than Wikipedia. Thanks a bunch.

Haf Dozen Reasons....... said...

What a beautiful birthday post!!! Happy birthday, Jenn!!