“Children make you a better everything. Daughters open up a whole different sensibility to you. When you have children, it focuses you on them as opposed to on yourself.”                   Andy Garcia (1956-Present)To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter.”                   Euripides (480BC – 406 BC)

I have three daughters – Nicole, Rochelle and Madeleine – they are all grown-up now. How they grew up so fast is beyond me, but such is the nature of time…one minute you’re changing their diapers, the next you are watching them at their high school graduation wondering where the little girls went. For as long as they can remember I have been a gardener of one sort or another – so whether I was the landscape foreman who worked long hours, six days a week or the estate gardener who came home for lunch everyday, I tried my best to be a good father. Some days I brought home little surprises, like banana leaves for them to play jungle with or on one occasion an ailing Varied Thrush (who they named ‘Hoppy’) in need of a few days of recovery from the severe cold before we could release him. On my days off I would take them to botanical gardens (so I could do my photography), walks in the woods (again, photography) or for occasional swims at Whonnock Lake. Through it all they acquired a love of the natural world and with it that inherent sense of curiosity that plagues only the best of people. They all grew up with an acute sense of social justice, an understanding of the current frailty of the planet they inhabit and a sense of self-awareness that still allows them to think of others – in short, all the attributes that make me proud as a father. Even though they were girls, I treated them as my surrogate sons, sharing with them the things that were important to me. Together we have greeted the sunrise over the Grand Canyon, watched it set from the peak of Mauna Kea…climbed the pyramids of Tikal, searched the watery depths of the Great Blue Hole off the coast of Belize…kayaked the mangroves of Florida and surfed the wild Pacific waves on Vancouver Island’s outer coast. Through it all they were as good as any son that I have ever known. Truth be told, my daughters have made me a better person and it’s comforting to know that long after I’m gone, there will be a nurse, a marine biologist and a writer helping the world that I left behind. My name is Michael Kenneth Lascelle – I have three daughters, and I’m okay with that.

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