Lara came quickly. We were still living in Regina. We had practised driving fast to the hospital, but when the day came, it was still touch and go.

We dropped Kirsten off at Stan and Jan‘s place and rushed to the hospital. They put Diane in a wheelchair and hurried to the maternity ward. Nurses saw it was about to happen and took her directly into Delivery. She still had her clothes on – they couldn’t get her undressed before Lara came. We called Diane the baby machine.

True to form, Mom and Dad Dowling arrived a few days later in their station wagon loaded with gifts. How they got across the border we’ll never know.

Right from the start, two-year- old Kirsten took care of her living baby doll. To this day she is the typical oldest child taking care of younger siblings.

Lara is the daughter who has picked up my love for music. We got her a violin suggested by her teacher Emmanuel Horch. It was an old Maggini owned by a colleague when Mr. Horch played in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

One spring Lara won the silver medal in the Toronto Conservatory of Music. Like me, she uses music to bring her life. She plays in a large group of violinists, has played in the Vancouver Symphony and has put out a series of CDs called Eastside Christmas.

Growing up she broke her ankle once, having to wear a cast. We were plastering the ceiling of our living room at the time. She decided to cover her classmates’ signatures on the cast with plaster from the tub on the floor.

Time came for the cast to come off. They wondered at the clinic who had put this ugly thing on her leg.

One summer she went to Mexico on her own, taking a second violin she owned along. Her Maggini had to stay safe at home. Our hearts were in our mouths because travelling in Mexico is dangerous, and we did not hear from her much. One day she went to a village where a street musician was playing guitar. She was carrying her violin. She sidled up to him and asked if she could play with him. She knew his songs. He said yes. That day the musician made more money than ever because he was accompanied by my daughter. The townspeople loved her music.

I go to Vancouver once or twice a year. Spending time with Lara is special because she is curious and creative. We have gone on wildlife trips after eagles in Squamish and whales in the Pacific Ocean.

When I go to Vancouver I play music with Lara.

More Stories