I was a mere teenager but thought I was all grown up and in church one Saturday afternoon when a little girl about 5 years old was crying. I asked her what was the matter? Her mother, Yvonne Smith, (fondly know as auntie Yvonne) said, "Do you want her? Take her!" Before I knew it, I had this little girl on my lap. Decades later, I have no idea why she was crying but what I do know is, I took her mum literally.
Jennifer Smith is a major part of my life. She became my daughter and I got to play and be mother long before I had any children of my own.
Her parents and my parents built a strong bond of trust and we shared in the life of this beautiful high spirited, energetic little girl. She spent weekends and holidays at my house and we did so much together. In my family, she was known as "Ann's Jenny". To her family, I was her "other mother." When she became a teenager and she needed a stern talking to, auntie Yvonne would often say, "speak to your daughter." This became a common theme and to this day we share our daughter.
Over the years, she has played a prominent role in my life that is unimaginable. She is always there no matter what! She is a priceless, precious gift that I was given for keeps. Now she belongs to the entire Bagot/Divine and extended family. She is now auntie Jen to our children.
She is loved and admired for her strength of character, boldness, loving nature, generosity, fearlessness and courageous mindset.
Jennifer was born with a disability, but she is undeterred. Whatever the setback, she would meet it head on. She is always confident that there is a way out. Her disability is just one of life's challenges to be overcome. Her faith and confidence in God is the key to her success. Jennifer has no time to be discouraged, she would rather die than give up. She is energetic, determined, passionate and full of zest for life.
As a career counsellor, Jennifer has guided hundreds of youth and helped them follow their passion. Whether it's to university, college or find appropriate employment, she is committed to supporting and helping them. If a door is closed, she'll find a way to open it or find another for them to accomplish their dreams and ambition.
Jennifer's words are powered by action. She pushes herself, always on a path of continuous learning. Recently she completed another program of advanced studies to keep abreast with new information and technology to share with her students.
She is loved and adored by her family, many nieces and nephews, a trusted confidant to the young, kind and generous with her time to anyone she encounters.
If you were to meet Jennifer today, you would be touched by her spirit of warmth and kindness. Her selfless acts and her willingness to go the extra mile.
Jennifer has raised two beautiful daughters of her own. They are incredible young women. One is currently in university studying to become a psychiatric nurse and the other is doing media studies, with a keen interest in graphic design.
We are grateful to have this beautiful, gracious and phenomenal young woman in our lives who has influenced us through an abundance of love and joy.
Happy Birthday, Jennifer.