Mama G (A.K.A. Lilian Gavin)

Mama G

Oh Mama G, literally my favorite human on the planet. I was, and still am, beyond lucky to grow up with a mom who has always encouraged me to live life to the absolute fullest. I’ve never been afraid of adventure, failure or taking a chance because I’ve learned from the best and had unconditional love and support, no matter what.

Mama G is such an inspiration. She has always WANTED to be a mom and it absolutely showed. She loves us unconditionally and taught us how wonderful and exciting the world is. Growing up, Mama G would constantly remind us to seize the moment and to go after what we wanted. No dream was too big, no goal was too silly.

She is the best person to have had as a mother.

I can’t wait to have babies of my own one day, mostly because I can’t wait to see her face light up when she tickles their little feet and kisses them a million delicious kisses. Mama G is love.

Describe our relationship in three words

Connected – Trusting – Positive

What was the most exciting part about becoming a mom?
Watching each of you grow into unique amazing caring individuals!

What is your favorite song?
“Only You” – by the Flying Pickets – a capella song – and now I also love many of the Pentatonix songs!
**Only You was my parent’s wedding song…**

When and how did you and Dad meet?
We met on the campus of what is now known as Vancouver Island University

What was your wedding like? 
A blast! Lots of family, good friends, good food, good music!

What is your greatest fear?
That something preventable happens to anyone in my family…Shayne are you listening? Stop jumping off cliffs already!!!!

What has been your greatest accomplishment? 
Probably managing (at times albeit just barely) to somehow balance the work/life/self conundrum. This was not without some major concessions (such as a severe lack of sleep)! Try working steady night shifts for many, many years (11 p.m. – 7 a.m.)…then coming home to 4 kids, 2 dogs, 3 cats. We managed this without day-care (as the cost for 4 kids would have outstripped the revenue – hence the night-shifts). To deal with, there were: diapers, bills, appointments, dog food, photo days, braces, school projects, hot-dog forms, dried up felt pens, dinners to make, music lessons, school supplies, laundry, soccer, basket ball, swim meets, hockey, baseball, single socks, car repairs, PNE days, birthday parties, birthday parties, birthday parties…you get the picture! No, not everything went perfectly all the time and sometimes, things were missed or left undone…but we all survived and I would say, thrived!

What are you most looking forward to in the next 5 years?
Retirement – finding more time to hang out with old and new friends and family – (especially my 91 year old Dad, who’s still able to run to the end of the driveway to pick up the newspaper, climb his ladder to pick a few plums on the way back, then sign onto his computer to buy and sell stocks). I look forward to travelling with Rod, playing golf, skiing, swimming, kayaking and playing pickle ball! Maybe some volunteering with youngsters. If Grand-kids were to come into the picture, I’d be thrilled! I’d like to learn to play an instrument and learn more about gardening. Also on my bucket list is to write a book or two!

What are you most proud of your babies for?
Katryna, Kelsey, Lyndsey and Shayne you are all amazing, intelligent, independent, self assured, loyal, hard-working, kind-hearted, socially aware individuals. From the time you guys were very little, I always encouraged you to go ahead and talk to strangers – 99.9% of strangers are perfectly safe!* and taught you that you are not more, nor less important than anyone else on this earth! You guys are all able to interact amazingly well with young and old – with bosses, co-workers and employees, with relative and strangers and are able to forge friendships and relationships with people from all walks of life – For this I am proud! *(However I would tell them to use the Stranger Danger Rules if a stranger were to approach THEM for no apparent reason – especially if they were alone)…

What is the most challenging part of being a parent?
Filling out forms! I will be happy to never again having to fill out all the many, many forms that 4 kids bring home from school !!!. Actually, all kidding aside, the most challenging part is making medical decisions on behalf of your child (jaw surgery, newer vaccinations, etc.). Also somewhat challenging is saying “no” to certain things that your child really, really wants (Electronic Gaming Systems, going on a “Florida Grad Cruise”), and sticking to the “no” decision. The really cool part is when your kids admit, albeit many years later, that they understand why you said no and, are glad you did.

What are your favorite non-physical attributes about yourself?
My ability to do things spur of the moment, my ability to make the best of almost any situation, my tenacity, and somewhat bizarre sense of humor! I am very aware that even if a situation doesn’t turn out exactly as planned, sometimes the alternate situation leaves you with amazing memories! Remember camping in monsoons! Going to Chinese New Year and having hundreds of people rub baby Shayne’s little bald head for luck! Driving 10 hours to attend a wedding near Alexis Creek with 4 kids in the car, and on the way back, picking up two 90 year old First Nations hitchhikers, only to enjoy their amazing stories of the “good ol’ days” on the way home. That same trip at a campground, I sent Lyndsey out to find a match so we could start a campfire – she met a family travelling from Holland in an R.V. – we invited them to park their camper back at our house when they got to Vancouver and we had a great few days hosting them – we’re  still in contact years later.

What would you say is your greatest strength?
I’m willing to take risks! For example, the risk of buying a house 25 years ago when that house price was far outside of our comfort zone. The risk I took when turned down a job transfer from Vancouver to Calgary with a large railway company – a great job that I loved (it would have meant uprooting my family) – and then finding instead a dream job with involving commuter rail in Vancouver.

What advice would you give a new or expecting mother?
For them to take most of my (and other’s) advice with a smile, a nod and a thank-you.  Learn from all that advice, but be assured that you are going to know your own baby best, and it’s okay to trust your own instincts! Do seek professional help if you are struggling. If Mom and baby are healthy, basic safety rules are followed (in most cases if a baby is fed and washed, hugged, held, talked to, stimulated and LOVED), baby will do just fine! As they say, don’t sweat the small stuff, and it is almost all small stuff. ENJOY your baby – time will fly!

What can always make you smile?
“Katryna-isms”. So many over the years! Such as when we were driving along the Sunshine Coast, and I was raving about the amazing scenery. I mentioned that it was too bad that the gorgeous views were marred by all of the utility poles. I mused that it would be nice if they were all underground. Katryna (not all that young either) pipes up – “But man, they’d have to dig deep holes!!!!

What is your favorite childhood memory?
Living on a hobby farm. Playing “kick the can” in and around our barn, haystack and fields with my brothers and sisters and many of the neighborhood kids – a game would often continue into the next day…(we would just remember who was “it” and carry on!) Playing pick-up scrub (baseball without teams). Also horseback riding – we would ride to our friend’s houses, swim with the horses in the Cowichan River or Maple Bay, have sleep-overs and our horses would have sleep-overs too! I also loved being allowed to have almost any animal I wanted as long as I could help pay for the animal and be fully responsible for its upkeep!

What is one of the challenging things you’ve ever done?
Hiking the West Coast Trail about 30 years ago…with one of my best friends Kate, her boyfriend Greg, and my future husband Rod. We had no high-tech equipment (just whatever tents, packs and sleeping bags that we could scour up!), a super-8 wind up movie camera, and a hodge-podge assortment of food as each of us was responsible for cooking one of the days (we had to bury at least one meal !!!). It was the most amazing hike ever! I swam in the freezing ocean every day – with a rope tied to my wrist in case I got caught in a rip-tide – and Rod and Greg got great enjoyment out of un-necessarily hauling me back in. The hike itself actually was long but not particularly difficult – the challenging part was trying to get a comb through my hair when we finished – my hair had turned into a giant dread-lock!

What is a piece of advice that you would give to young women trying to find their way through the world?
Seize the moment! You have only one life – it is YOUR life to live. Don’t just sit back and complain or lay blame or lament over things you don’t have – act! If things are not as they should be, or if you had a bit of a rough start, take action! Respect the rights and feelings of others, be kind to animals, keep learning, take risks (with the exception of jumping off cliffs!) stay close to nature. Be true to yourself! Live, laugh, love! “BE!”

8 thoughts on “Mama G (A.K.A. Lilian Gavin)

  1. What a beautifully written article… makes sense because you are all sooooo beautiful inside and out … and this shows just a small portion xo love you all


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