If you could use a little life motivation these days, start with this issue of Ottawa Family Living. Boy, do we have some stories for you. In the following pages you’ll be introduced to real people who lead by example. They’re not media darlings or limelight seekers. These moms, dads, grandparents and young adults are remarkable in that they go about the business of everyday living with heart, resolve and dignity. Joy too.
Our main feature is about a Muslim family and a mom named Farhia Ahmed. Farhia has four kids, aged three to 11, a government job and a laugh that rings out and makes you smile. Calling herself a “fashionista with soul and purpose,” this university-educated champion for human rights wears the hijab with confidence and conviction. However, at a time when even the prime minister has agreed our country has problems with Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, discrimination and hate speech, she worries about the kids and their future. That’s why Farhia speaks up and challenges stereotypes so that everyone can live well and safely.
Margaret Hartshorn offers another inspiring example of strength and grace. In a story about the Aqua Life Swim Academy, the grandmother reveals why she learned to swim before her 70th birthday. She was terrified; she did it anyway. Margaret is dyslexic. As a child in school, she was told she was never going to amount to anything. When you hear that, she says, “It’s a big challenge to amount to something.” Led to believe she couldn’t learn, she eventually decided to challenge the notion. Not only did she attend college in her 40s, she dared to don a bathing suit and conquer her fear of the water. She wanted to be able to jump in with her grandkids and take part in an activity her family enjoys. These days, she might pass you in the pool.
Then there’s Bob Grandmaison. As owner of a local company called Pool Builders, not only does he put pools in backyards across our community, he manages to keep his family close. Five of the kids work for dad and all have roles that maximize their skills and talents.
In this edition you’ll meet Meow. (That’s her road name.) She is a mom and motorcycle enthusiast who is also a survivor of child abuse. That’s why she’s involved in Guardians of the Children, an organization dedicated to protecting child abuse victims and educating the public about the issue.
You’ll also learn about Sarah Hampel, a mother of three who launched a home-based business, Maman Chic Boutique, that supports pregnant women to feel their best for the whole nine months, as well as friends who’ve started a hiking group for women, and a couple who launched a school for dogs. Yes, there are a lot of go-getters in our community.
In the end, though, I’d like to dedicate this summer issue of Ottawa Family Living to a dog: Rosie with Thorns. Full of oomph, attitude and great hair days, the 60-pound canine dynamo has taught me about life priorities and the pleasures of getting dirty.
To Infinity and Beyoncé, Rosie. oxo